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Middle C by [Gass, William H.]
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Middle C Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 417 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This picaresque tale of a hapless poseur, music professor Joseph Skizzen, is a mischievous variation on the moral dilemmas raised in Gass’ The Tunnel (1995), in which a historian grapples with his life’s work, Guilt and Innocence in Hitler’s Germany. Skittish Joseph’s secret obsession with genocidal horrors is manifest in his “Inhumanity Museum,” a motley collection of documents about human atrocities that fills the attic in his decaying Victorian house in a small Ohio college town. Fearfully virginal Joseph lives with his Austrian refugee mother, a ferocious gardener. They fled WWII Europe when he was a boy after his father, a master of false identities, disappeared. Looking back on his anxiously improvised American life, Joseph recalls incidents ludicrous, painful, and hilarious involving characters of delectably cartoonish particulars connected to his misbegotten jobs at a record store and a library. Joseph also remembers his lonely old piano teacher, who extolled middle C and the major third as a chord on which “all that is good and warm and wholesome and joyful in nature is built.” Can a human life achieve such uplifting unity and resonance? In this exuberantly learned bildungsroman—this torrent of curious facts and arch commentary, puns and allusions—internationally lauded virtuoso Gass reflects on humanity’s crimes and marvels, creating his funniest and most life-embracing book yet. --Donna Seaman

From Bookforum

The formidability of language and the drive for narrative complexity, which have long put Gass squarely in the neither-nor camp where high-modernist experimentation overlaps with postmodern gamesmanship, are both on ample display, as is the demanding erudition that the author injects in all his work. In tone, in its black humor and formal self-consciousness, Middle C is, well, classic Gass, and as such the novel's arrival is a signal event. When Middle C works most effectively as a novel, the reading experience is exhilarating. The effect is like listening to an uncared-for LP—here the needle gets stuck in the scratches, repeating a snippet over and over, there it suddenly glides forward over the dusty surface. I wish I could summon an image that doesn't immediately come off as negative (or Make Middle C sound like a broken record), for Gass's strategies in constructing his novel are at times brilliant as they are taxing. Elaboration without triumph, finality without completion: In the end, we're back at the beginning. It's not a novel departure, but in Gass's Trojan horse of a book, it is an always adventuresome trip. —Eric Banks

Product details

  • File Size: 1426 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307701638
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 12, 2013)
  • Publication Date: March 12, 2013
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009C9BVEY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

on April 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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on March 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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