Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Confessions of Max Tivoli: A Novel Paperback – January 13, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Over Max's narration of the preceding decades of his life, he offers outsider's snapshots of San Francisco and all of America across the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout, Greer uses the literary device of reverse aging to interrogate the evolution of social conventions, the finitude of a human life, and the decay of memory. Max wants love. But his curse destines him to deception. He loses his wife, Alice, changes his name, and remains hidden from his own son to keep his true identity secret. Only his lifelong friend, Hughie, stands by Max and can see the person inside the anachronistic body. Like the best science fiction and myth, the novel uses its central conceit to reveal human prejudice and explode all assumptions of normalcy to profound effect.
Love is a destructive force in The Confessions of Max Tivoli. But Greer recognizes that in the failure of love is also hope. He artfully captures Max's fragile world with a delicacy that never crosses into sentimentality but also avoids the monumental scale of tragedy. As Max says near the end of the novel, "It is a brave and stupid thing, a beautiful thing to waste ones life for love." A journey with Max, while brave and beautiful, is hardly a waste. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There's something depressing about a book in which you simply cannot bring yourself to love any of the main characters. With a single exception, the characters in "Max Tivoli" are selfish and self-centered, occasionally cruel and often insensitive, and delving into pathetic every time they reach for sympathy.
The exception is Hughie, who befriends Max when he is a child of six and looks like an old man, and stays with him his entire life until he is an old man in the body of a child. Hughie is almost the only person outside Max's family to know the truth, and his steadfast loyalty and unquestioning friendship were more heartwarming than anything else in this book. Forget the love story between Max and Alice - the truest love here is between Max and Hughie.
The first part of the book is richly steeped in the atmosphere of late nineteenth century San Francisco.Read more ›
Max bares his soul, revealing the paradoxes, the ironies, and the cyclical patterns in his unique and tumultuous life. He documents his struggles against the currents of time, where he has had to keep reinventing himself as time moved inexorably forward for others. He laments the deceit and rejection he has had to practice to follow his mothers advice to "be what they think you are." He describes how his best friend, in stages, plays the role of his son, his brother, and his father. He memorializes a love that transcends drastically changing age differences.
Taking place in San Francisco around the turn of the twentieth century, when gaslights and carriages make way for electric lights and automobiles, the action centers on the three time periods in Max's life when his path crosses that of his love, Alice. In each of the three sections he reluctantly reveals, bit by bit, the surprising details that comprise the core of his life. His need for acceptance and love is portrayed in an entirely new and fresh way. The story evinces emotions that are powerfully heartrending. The writing is lyrical and full of imagery. This incredible novel will take your breath away, and I recommend it highly. If you only have the time to read one literary novel this season, make it this one.
The same hopeless thrill of a doomed love runs through this book. Max Tivoli knows from the start of his life as an old man that his is a curse he cannot overcome - much as he might try. His relationships with Alice, first as a father figure who is unable to control his desire for her young girl self, then as a jealous husband who rapes his wife on the eve of her desertion of him, and last as her adopted son who yearns to kiss her and sleep with her, fill one with pity and despair.
One of the greatest tragedies is that Max, and hence the reader, ends the book still not knowing exactly how Alice feels about the various incarnations of Max she has known. Did she learn to hate him as a girl, care for him as a husband, love him as a son? Obviously his feelings for her are always stronger than hers for him - but what are her feelings? So much of the book is devoted to Alice - but the reader is frustrated along with Max - just grasping at images of Alice instead of the whole person.
The writing is lyrical at times and the premise is very intriguing, but I found myself drifting a bit as I read. As fascinating as Max should be - he took a backseat when his lifelong friend Hughie was in the scene. Max's life is unreal, to be sure, but I found his character a bit unreal as well - and found myself gravitating toward the more sympathetic Hughie.
I enjoyed this book - maybe not as much as I'd hoped - but would recommend it without reservation. I am not sure, however, if it leaves me wanting to rush out and buy more of Greer's works.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr. Greer continues his run as a new and fresh voice for American literature. I loved this book and can't wait to read his next and the next novel by him.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
yawn... i wanted to like it. it just never got off the ground for me.Published 12 months ago by G. Dave Post
I read this one just after reading Behind the Scenes at the Museum , which was interesting, because both stories begin just before the birth of the narrator. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Victoria Craven
This is a beautifully written book. I'm not sure if it inspired the Benjamin Button movie, but it's a similar story. Read morePublished 24 months ago by LaJoie
I learned a lot from it, I had never heard of the Orphan Trains before. I know about the ones during the war in Europe, but this was enlightening.Published on June 20, 2014 by sylvia joram
Max Tivoli takes you into his deeply emotional and tragic world immediately. You ally yourself with the heartbreak of his fated life immediately and, though, difficult, stay with... Read morePublished on June 3, 2014 by Georgia
Max showed courage, hope, and endurance in the love that had an expiration date from the very beginning. I go back to it and I marvel. I love this book.Published on March 24, 2014 by Human
This is my second novel by this author. What a mind he has. The Impossible Lives of Gretta Wells took me into three different eras and I loved every minute of it. Read morePublished on February 14, 2014 by Sally