Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf (Contemporary English Language Fiction) Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1873982716
ISBN-10: 1873982712
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Kindle App Ad
eBook features:
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Digital List Price: $13.99 Save $2.80 (20%)‎

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

New from Used from
Kindle, October 23, 2012
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Madsen is the pseudonym of a philosopher, theologian, therapist and author who has always had a special interest in the esoteric, the oblique and the heterodox byways of the human psyche. His first novel, Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf, partially sprang from Madsen's enthusiasm for Gnosticism, which he had the opportunity of studying in Rome for several years; Memoirs won great critical acclaim and has been translated into eleven languages. It was followed by Confessions of a Flesh-Eater, Confessions of a Flesh-Eater Cookbook and, most recently, A Box of Dreams, all published by Dedalus Books. He has also collaborated on film scripts. David Madsen has been interviewed by several well-known periodicals and literary magazines, including The New Statesman, Spoiled Ink and Venue; he has also been the subject of articles and interviews in newspapers and journals from countries as diverse as Lithuania and Brazil.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3031 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dedalus Limited (October 23, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JWX3VU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tanstaafl VINE VOICE on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the intersection of the 15th and 16th centuries, a Dwarf (Big "D" to show respect) goes from the mean streets of Rome to walk with the giants of that world. Madsen remarkably gives us a tour of Europe, Italy, Rome, the Vatican, the papacy, Gnosticism, side-shows, sex, gore and love - always love.

There is no product description here or on the book. There isn't one at the publisher's site either - but they do have several reviews posted there (dedalusbooks). I won't copy from the reviews of others, so do read those.

The Inquisition is in bloom and heretics are treated in ways that are described in detail. If you do not like questioning normal Christian or Roman Catholic beliefs - you will not like this book. If you do not want to read intimate descriptions of sex or be exposed to visceral scenes, then run from this one.

Madsen has put together the darnedest bunch of characters I've ever seen combined into one book. The depth to which he takes us into their lives and world is amazing. I was further amazed by the characters I was rooting for and those I was disliking immensely.

Given the setting, time period and subject, it is obligatory that we meet certain famous artists; certain famous folks of religious history and those intimately involved in the machinations of the powerful of that age. The book is filled with dark humor, and I absolutely refuse to reveal the passages that had me laughing out loud (and there were many).

The book is very well written and flows smoothly. Though some of the subject matter is shocking, Madsen does not resort to excess drama. All is told, with great results, in straightforward style.
Read more ›
Comment 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a hard novel to categorize. It's part historical fiction, part tragic-comedy, part treatise on gnostic thought, and it's part historical lecture on European renaissance-era religion and politics. But somehow it works.

In essence, "Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf" is a story of the mysticism of Gnostic thought, orbiting around the interesting and sometimes madcap reign of Pope Leo X, Giovanni de Medici. Peppe (the dwarf) serves as narrator by providing glimpses of his youth, his introduction to Gnosticism, love, and education, which ultimately lands him in a circus, and then the 'court' of Leo X (itself not an actual circus, though one could make that arguement based on Peppe's descriptions).

Peppe is more tragic than comic. He ruminates on his physically painful youth (did I mention he has a rather large hump on his back?) "In the beginning was the pain, and the pain was with me, and the pain was me. It constituted the entirety of my burgeoning consciousness."

And one can't help but make comparisons to George R.R. Martin's own tortured dwarf, Tyrion Lannister. Peppe's mother, in a drunken fit, says, "God knows, I should have suffocated you at birth." Peppe responds in his narrative, "There was a time when I would have wholeheartedly agreed with this; now, however, I am rather glad that she did not suffocate me at birth. Strange, isn't it, how one can always learn to love oneself, however ghastly one is?"

Madsen displays a large and complex vocabulary which dually proves the literate nature of the writer as well as the value of having an e-reader with a built-in dictionary. His writing is big, bold and vividly descriptive.

In one particularly expressive scene, Peppe's only love is tortured for heresy.
Read more ›
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read- bawdy, perverse, vivid, bloody, scatological, Gnostic, an Italian Renaissance "Nightmare Alley", freaks, cruelty, and Vatican politics. What more could a reader want? I admire the author's efforts at creating a plausible underground Gnostic faith. The conclusion however left me unsatisfied being a forced "beauty & the beast" symbolism which simply does not mesh with the gnostic nihilism of the rest of the novel.

After reading this you will understand the history as to why Italy changes governments more frequently than any nation in the West.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on June 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
The very first scene is so completely over the top, I was immediately hooked. I read it straight through. Strange and quirky writing, many an unexpected turn, circuses, wrestling matches, sex, drama, all that stuff.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
*Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf* is a work of historical fiction with elements of political satire. I should say, first, that if it's the word "gnostic" in the title that's making you curious about this book, then the book will probably disappoint you. The author's treatment of gnosticism is both cavalier and brief (as well as largely anachronistic) and it seems to be based primarily on the arguments used to condemn gnosticism as a heresy rather than on actual gnostic beliefs or texts. I was personally never convinced that the narrator's faith was genuine or profound (such things are almost impossible to accomplish in a work of fiction anyhow), one result of which is that the narrator--who is also the main character--ultimately lacks real character development and depth. Overall, I found this novel inconsistent: some parts are surprisingly well written--I really enjoyed the first third enough that I shouldn't give the book as a whole any fewer than three stars--but the novel's second half did not sustain my early hopes. The second half includes sections that are flat and dull to the point of being almost unreadable--although it's possible that a reader simply starving for some late 15th/early 16th Century European political turmoil-based stuff might find one or two points of interest. Madsen seems most fluent and most in his comfort zone when writing about sexuality and carnival freaks. He does a decent job of evoking the scatology and ribaldry of the late Middle Ages, but sadly demonstrates no skill at all for summarizing complex historical events--nor does he shed any light on those events for a modern reader. His insights into Martin Luther, for instance, can be classified as non-existent.Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf (Contemporary English Language Fiction)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf (Contemporary English Language Fiction)