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Metropole Paperback – October 1, 2008
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"A Central European classic to be discovered and relished." Eva Hoffman
"Nightmare is the only word that fully captures Karinthy's hellish metropolis, but while it's definitely a tale of horror, Metropole is also funny and touching." NPR
'With time, Metropole will find its due place in the twentieth-century library, on the same shelf as The Trial and 1984.' G. O. Chateaureynaud
"I' don t know when I ve read a more perfect novel-a dynamically helpless hero (in the line of Kafka), and a gorgeous spiral of action, nothing spare, nothing wrong, inventive and without artifice." Michael Hoffman TLS
"A stunning novel. Funny, nightmarish and jubilant."--Libération
"A masterpiece."--Magazine Littéraire
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot builds upon a basic but very ironic premise: Budai, a linguist, seems to have boarded the wrong plane on his way to a conference in Helsinki and has now ended up in a mysterious city in an unknown country with a singularly incomprehensible language. It is packed to overflowing: human congestion spills from the lobbies out into the streets and Budai is rudely rushed down sidewalks and through lines. Even the solitude of the hotel room he manages to acquire is afflicted by the alien alphabet he encounters in a framed printout presumably of hotel regulations. The overwhelming effect is one of claustrophobia reinforced by a rambling syntax that pushes headlong from page to page in lengthy paragraphs. A harried Budai roams from place to place in time with the narrative rhythm, attempting unsuccessfully to find . . . a way . . . out . . . OF . . . HERE! The very density of the urban dreamscape - its unyielding masses of humanity and mazes of streets, alleys, passageways, myriads of neighborhoods - seems to compress into a solid wall, entrapping Budai as effectively as any stone-and-mortar fortification. The mounting tension is palpable, even as it superficially plateaus when Budai settles into his hotel room, finds some work, and even acquires a sort of girlfriend.Read more ›
Other reviewers - and my own dim memory - insist on comparing 'Metropole' to Franz Kafka's work, and in some ways, I think that, for once, it's an apt comparison. It's most apparent in the idea of the bewildered man trying to make sense out of a society that is alien to him (or he to it), with the critical keys of information that would allow him to operate within that society seeming to dangle just out of his, and the readers, reach. Other comparisons will depend on the reader's assessment of what exactly Kafka was about. Whereas I've always thought of his works as very personal reflections of his percieved incompatability with life, Karinthy's novel is more universal - an example of a common man and the connections to society that shape our identity, connections that are excrutiatingly obvious only once they are severed.
'Metropole' then follows Budai as he tries to make sense of his situation and return home. No attempt at communication is open to him though, whether through a language he recognizes nor through any try at rudimentary sign language.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is both rare and refreshing to chance upon a masterpiece which had remained relatively obscure until recently. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Trevor Coote
I was lost the whole time. it was a mess of ussless ideasPublished 21 months ago by Sarah Buys-a-lot
Quite gripping in its way and it was really quite a feat to write a whole book about somebody trapped in a world in which, and with which,the main character was unable to... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mike
Repetitive, tiresome reading. Sounds like author read Kafka and took his style to heart. I don't understand how this book received a good review by The New York Times.Published on March 19, 2014 by chaim charytan
This story had potential with many possibilities coming to mind, but the ending was a letdown. It's not worth your time to finish it.Published on December 18, 2012 by Glenn Heying
'With time, Metropole will find its due place in the twentieth-century library, on the same shelf as The Trial and 1984. Read morePublished on May 1, 2012 by Mr. D. James
Any number of modern, nightmarish novels are given the epithet of 'Kafkaesque', but most contemporary writers pale in comparison to the truly disturbing, oppressive, claustrophic... Read morePublished on May 25, 2011 by bobbygw
If you are a fan of Franz Kafka, you'll love this book. An absent minded man on his way to a conferenc gets on the wrong flight and finds himself in a surrealistic city from which... Read morePublished on June 15, 2009 by joe vadalma