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The Instructions Hardcover – November 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Please read Amazon's Product Description (click on Editorial Reviews above). Read it very carefully. Nothing more needs to be said about the plot. You will be spending many hours within that briefly but deceptively described universe.
Two words of advice: Hang on! While this has some debut novel glitches, you'll quickly forgive Levin. This is an amazingly imagined story. How can it not be when the main character is the messiah, or potential messiah, or neither? At ten, even potential is impressive. And our hero, Gurion, at that mere ten, is already a leader of men (or boys who will be men).
Of course, this will be compared with David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest'; and rightly so. And, I loved 'Infinite Jest'. But, this is not 'Infinite Jest'. Though much of this rambles, it is the poster-child of organization compared to the other. With about nine-hundred fewer footnotes, and the few that are here are on the same page as the text, the reader is spared the constant interruptions.
Levin's juxtaposition of the scholarly boys and the delinquent students of the Cage allows divergent threads, and moralities, to run throughout the book. I found myself liking and disliking the same characters several times each. Gurion's parents will do more than just raise some eyebrows. His girlfriend, too, is a gem.Read more ›
The main character is a ten-year-old boy named Gurion who narrates the story and his personality was immediately captivating. The attentive maintenance of this character through the book is what kept me up late nights reading. I was able to love him immediately, through his happiness and sadness; through his growth and stagnation--and all over the amazing short period of four days (timespan of the novel). It is a microscope of human emotion, yet--especially toward the end and looking out over "two-hill field"--the author represents a larger scope of human existence.
Another thing that the author did to make the book great was use the epitome of the writer's dogma "show versus tell" countless times throughout the novel. Page 825, for example (although this may be personal) discusses the phrase "point of no return" but that is exactly what that point represented for me in the book--the point where I simply needed to keep reading in order to find out what was going to happen next, the point of no return where I must read to the end of the book.
Or take this quote, for another example (page 29-30), that shows so much about the character with little details:
"I liked it when things went together like that. Not just timing things like the chop /flick/ knock-stopping, but space things, too. Like all the man-made products that fit into other man-made products that were not made by the same men or for the same reasons.Read more ›
I've been reading seriously since I was about 16, so I've been doing this for about 20 years, and I know how serious it is to say 'This is the greatest book I've ever read' but I am doing just that.
I was hooked from the first paragraph, and this man...he writes scripture...this thing is truly profound, not just 'about' the profound, it is profound.
i will tell you something too...there is a reason this is the greatest book I've ever read, because the author had the audacity, the balls, to try and write the greatest book ever written...not a lot of people actually do that, and of those that do, I only know one that has succeeded, Adam Levin.
wow, you might be saying, this sounds like a friend of the author, or perhaps his wife...nope...but if he ever wants another friend, he made one with me...how many people do i know who have the guts to do what he did with this novel. when you write scripture, expect followers...wow!
i'm going to go on, because that is what i am inspired to do, i am inspired to sing praises, and so i am going to sing...
as an aside, the comparisons to D.F.W. are annoying and made by people who understand neither. I've read some D.F.W., and i'm impressed, as anybody should be, by someone who is working so hard to do so...Adam Levin a horse of a different color (whatever that means)...Adam Levin stands alone here with this magnificent work. i've never read a 1000 pages with the constant feeling of wanting it NOT to end, of feeling so cared for.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So, the thing about The Instructions is: it's an excellent book, and a hell of a magnum opus. But I have to say this for fans of Infinite Jest who are here: this isn't the book... Read morePublished 20 days ago by N. Stevens
If you like The Instructions, I highly recommend Paul Beatty's The White Boy Shuffle. Likewise, if you enjoyed Beatty yoPublished 14 months ago by SLB
My friends all have bruises from me throwing this book at them and demanding they read it. Possibly the best book I've read this decade.Published 24 months ago by Kevin M. Fowler
When I started this novel I had several misgivings and I didn't want to read it let alone like it but I was wrong: The Instructions was (insert superlative) awesome. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by ConcupusAl
This novel is one of the best debuts I've ever read, and one of my favorite reads altogether. You can taste the influence of those who came before him, but Levin's voice is his own... Read morePublished on October 4, 2013 by whateverhappenedtoZeppo?
Second for me in my list for 2012. Clever, original and very entertaining. Good writing and good ideas. I loved it.Published on July 19, 2013 by Betty Van Dyck
This is not a good book --- this is a great book! Witty and poignant --- it puts a smile on my face. Very long --- but worth the effort and time wading through it. Read morePublished on July 14, 2013 by Kenneth David Robin
I have just finished reading this book and I will save you the trouble, you have better things to do w/ your life than read the 900 or so pages of this book. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Payam