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Boxer, Beetle: A Novel Paperback – September 13, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A premise as wonderfully outlandish as any we've seen in a long while... oddball and rambunctious... funny, raw and stylish.” ―New York Times

“An ebulliant and thrilling narrative... Irreverent, profane, and very funny. Best of all, [Beauman] writes prose that, like Chabon's, has the power to startle, no small feat in a debut.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“First-novelist Beauman, who is just 26 years old, has concocted a bizarre and funny mystery that is filled with eccentric scholarship... Those seeking something completely different will be amply rewarded.” ―Booklist, starred review

“The story wonderfully mocks eugenics and fascism, while the writing bursts with imaginative metaphors... Quirky, comical, brilliant.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“First novelist Beauman has created a romp across the decades, with quirky characters and a complex, darkly humorous story.” ―Library Journal

“Perhaps the most politically incorrect novel of the decade--as well as the funniest.” ―Sunday Telegraph

“Brilliant… I can only gape in admiration at a new writing force.” ―Daily Mail

“Beauman strides where lesser writers wouldn't dare tiptoe. Maintains a high wire balance between giddy vulgarity, metafiction, and the sadness of being alive.” ―Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of After and Strange Fire

“Witty, erudite… articulate and original…often gobsmackingly smutty.” ―Time Out London

“Frighteningly assured.” ―Independent on Sunday

“Beauman writes with wit and verve.” ―Financial Times

“Prodigiously clever and energetically entertaining.” ―Guardian

“Many first novels are judged promising. Boxer, Beetle arrives fully formed: original, exhilarating, and hugely enjoyable.” ―Sunday Times

“Dazzling…As in P.G. Wodehouse and the early Martin Amis the tone is mischievous and impudent.” ―Daily Express

“A heart-stoppingly creative debut. He snares you with a new hook every page.” ―Simon Rich, author of Ant Farm

“His killer irony evokes early Evelyn Waugh…the funniest new book I've read in a year or two.” ―Independent

“A rambunctious, deftly plotted delight.” ―Observer

About the Author

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 and studied philosophy at Cambridge University. He has written for Dazed & Confused, AnOther Magazine, the Guardian, the Financial Times, and several other magazines and newspapers. He lives in London and is is at work on his second novel. Visit www.boxerbeetle.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608196801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608196807
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Seigle on August 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book isn't for everyone, but then, what book is?

The story entwines two timelines: one of a Nazi-era entomologist and a young Jewish boxer in Nazi Germany, and the other of a modern-day Nazi memorabilia collector with trimethylaminuria, The story is engaging though can bog down a bit here and there. The story ping-pongs between these two lines, which clearly must be related, but we are given only pieces that don't all fall into place until the end. This is a characteristic of another Beauman book, The Teleportation Accident. After reading that book I thought his style was remarkably similar to Neal Stephenson. Another similarity is that both authors send me on frequent visits to the dictionary, although in Beauman's case much of his vocabulary is peculiar to British English and appears that much more arcane to my American eyes. I discovered only later that in an interview with the Guardian that Beauman said, "...my favourite book when I was growing up, for a long time, was Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson....I'm sure that's found its way permanently into my mode of writing."

Another device used a few times is to show one character's point of view leading to an event, then backtrack and show what was happening at the same time to another character approaching the same event. This is a very effective device when you understand what the author is doing, but there is no clear signal that you have backtracked and are now tracing the same timeline from a different perspective. You don't realize until you have reached the event for a second time that you were seeing another perspective, rather than watching the story marching forward chronologically.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kevin has a rare a disease that makes him smell like rotting fish. Unsurprisingly, this means thar he has few friends or even acquaintances. His hobby is collecting Nazi memorabilia, because it gives him the distinct feeling of doing something wrong even whenhe is in fact not doing anything. He has a few strange thoughts that emerge in this book. And his job is working for a man with a huge collection of Nazi artifacts. But this man admires the drive and cunning of the Nazis, while he himself does not hate Jews.

With the death of his employer, we start the long strange story of eugenics and how they collided with the Jewish population of the poor East end before the war. Eugenics was the belief in the perfectibility of the human gene pool by eliminating polluting influences. To Hitler, and others, this meant in large part eliminating the influence of the Jews. In the process, we follow a murder mystery, or two, or thre.

This fictional portrait of the movement paints wry, darkly funny, and deeply cutting portraits of people who spent their days preoccupied in hate . The logic of labeling some genetics as inferior, while maintaining the superiority of the British ruling class because it is the ruling class, is held to the mirror of satire. In fact the movement existed, if not the characters of this novel.

The writing is clever and the characters are held to their consciences in extreme situations. The market in Nazi memorabilia remains in our time. And people like Kevin "sometimes like to close my eyes and imagine Joseph Goebbels' forty third birthday.". This is a strange little book, but one that carries the reader to different worlds.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I admire Beauman's originality and found the writing and storytelling fresh, but this isn't a book for everybody. While I found most of the in-your-face bluntness humorous, I wouldn't be surprised if some readers find it uncomfortably dirty. Beauman occasionally forces some of his similies and metaphors, possibly for humor's sake, but it often comes off as a writer simply trying too hard. If you like earthy stories with an F-you attitude and shock-value humor, you'll like Boxer/Beetle. If you prefer beautiful, moving stories elegantly told, look elsewhere.
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Mr Beauman has the great stuff in him. One day there is a chance it will come out and his novels will be next to Lolita and Brideshead. This book must be read at least twice- the highest praise I give. I've read it four times already. This is to small a space to write a proper review; go to goodreads or amazon and look for my reviews under the name earnestbunbury.
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Format: Paperback
I admit it -- I usually read to be edified.
I can't say I accomplished this with this particular book.
I don't know that I learned anything from it that I did not know.
But what a fabulous read!
Seldom do I read a book that is beautifully written, full of erudition, and both funny and serious at the same time.
This book accomplishes all this and more -- it's a splendid portrait of the nutty fascist elite of '30's England and its whack eugenics theories;
and it's a wonderful portrait of the working class East End Jewish community of the '30's;
and it's also a wonderful look at collectors of our time, hidden away in their bedroom and basements, searching through the Internet endlessly,
to either find the goods they want, or the people they want to plague.
All together GREAT PLEASURE, GREAT FUN to read!
Enjoy!
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