- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (March 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743291301
- ISBN-13: 978-0743291309
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Dahlia: A Novel Paperback – March 10, 2009
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"[H]ilarious and heartbreaking.... Albert's superb first novel...begins with the omniscient narrator's scathingly Edith Wharton-worthy catalogue of Dahlia's symptoms and ends with her first grand mal seizure.... Throughout, Albert delivers Dahlia's laissez-faire attitude toward other people and lack of ambition with such exactness as to strip them of cliche and make them grimly vivid. Her brilliant style makes the novel's central question -- should we mourn a wasted life? -- shockingly poignant." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Elisa Albert has the unique gift of making bedmates out of humor and heartbreak. The Book of Dahlia is wonderful." -- Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan
"The Book of Dahlia does not go gently into that good night -- each line howls with pain and rage and laughter. It takes an unflinching look at terminal illness in our culture of sunny denial and doesn't let readers off the hook, either -- this book will bring you to your knees. It's also the funniest thing I've read in years." -- Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
"Never maudlin, occasionally harrowing, and often hilarious, The Book of Dahlia is a dark, surprising wonder. Faced with her own imminent and unavoidable demise, Dahlia doesn't flinch -- but you will." -- Kelly Braffet, author of Last Seen Leaving
About the Author
Elisa Albert is the author of the short story collection How This Night is Different and the novel The Book of Dahlia. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Holland.
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I wish Albert had fleshed out the surrounding characters a bit more. Why was Danny so hateful? Why did Margalit treat her children as nothing but "extras" in her life? Why did Bruce have no backbone whatsoever?
I finished the book last night, with tears streaming down my life. I tear up thinking about it now.
I loved this special, special book.
But then the focus shifted to Dahlia's past, and that's where 90% of the book stays. She is an incredibly negative person, and I found it very, very hard to relate (or find interest in) anything she went through as a child/young adult. It got to the point where I wondered if the author had some inner resentment towards a sibling or parents - Dahlia's anger is just that unbelievable and center-stage.
I would even say that the cancer is only in there to "frame" all the rage and reluctance to forgive, to show how useless such emotions are in the end.