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Flamboyant: A Novel Paperback – October 29, 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tapping into a pool of now bromidic tales?Sleeping Beauty, Oliver Twist, Dangerous Minds?playwright and novelist Swados (The Myth Man) spends much of this threadbare novel battling against the cliches that attend a hackneyed plot. Flamboyant, a homeless, 15-year-old prostitute?vulnerable but guarded by her street smarts and acerbic charm?encounters Chana, a naive, frumpy, Orthodox Jewish schoolteacher who has recently been assigned to the Harvey Milk School in downtown Manhattan. The pair becomes a predictable parody: sassy black teen and a hopeless white square (she muses: "The people, mostly men, dressed so differently from what I knew in Brooklyn. So many mustaches! Muscles too!"). While Chana, whose faith and fiance forbid her to consort with lowlife, begins to question what she sees as the hypocrisy of Orthodox Jewish law, Flamboyant finds that her savvy cynicism is no substitute for genuine affection. Narrated by these two distinct voices, the novel toys with gimmicky tropes (e.g., diary entries) and performative gestures (e.g., Flamboyant's dramatic efforts to stage her identity crisis in phrases like "I, Flamboyant, did this and you, Chana, did that"). Despite Swados's good intentions, the book never overcomes its contrived set-up. To paraphrase Chana's rabbi, the novel feels like an unnecessarily long and bumpy trip down a well-trodden path. Editor, George Witte; agent, Amanda Urban; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Noted playwright Swados's first novel, The Myth Man (LJ 10/1/94), examined the claustrophobic existence of a closed society spinning out of control. In Flamboyant, the author takes her protagonist from a closed society, thrusting her into an alien world whose values are antithetical to everything she believes. Chana Landau, a devoutly Orthodox Jew, accepts a teaching position in a New York alternative school for young gays and lesbians. Although Chana's religion teaches that homosexuality is an abomination, her heart becomes engaged by the troubled students. In particular, Chana is drawn to Flamboyant, a gifted, sexually ambiguous, 15-year-old prostitute who claims Jewish heritage. Deftly alternating between the diaries of Chana and Flamboyant, who each narrates the story from her own perspective in a distinctive, authentic voice, the novel careens toward the inevitable clash between the world in which Chana lives and her deepening commitment to Flamboyant and the school. Readers will applaud the compassion with which Swados, without demeaning any of her characters, negotiates a seemingly insoluble situation. Highly recommended.?Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (October 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312204086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312204082
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,346,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ms. Swados captures the idiosyncratic natures of an orthodox jewish and young woman and her relationship with Flamboyant--accent pronounced -a yet younger prostitute who is a student athe Harvey Milk School. Ecah sentence pinches the reader-me with the sheer use of words and idioms and sterotypes twisted on its head. The humor is black but never at the expense of the two characters but perhaps at the expense of their environments. A magical tour of New York and two very different people. Ms. Swados has a one of a kind voice--
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Format: Hardcover
American Jewishness is becoming more and more integrated into mainstram American society, Chana Landau does an amazing job juggling both cultures and maintining both modernity and tradition. It is interesting to see the cognitive differences that seem relative to each culture, suggesting that cognitive differences are not universal (despite what theorists say). I loved the book, I recommend it to Jews, non-Jews, old, young- everyone. Im a college student, and Flamboyant was one of my most favorite novels yet. Its a must read.
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By A Customer on June 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book was wonderful. It was unusual and entertaining with a great message. Elizabeth Swados developed real life characters who I ended up caring a lot about. I very much enjoyed reading this novel.
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