- Paperback: 768 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; First edition (May 9, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156031965
- ISBN-13: 978-0156031967
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Q First Edition
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The story of Q begins with the mystery surrounding the author(s). Luther Blissett, the "author" of Q is the name of a Jamaican soccer player who played for AC Milan in the early l980s. He was victimized by Italian fans, whose racist and nasty comments caused his career to take a dive. This hapless fellow inspired a group of Italian artists to appropriate his name and attach it to all manner of projects. There are Luther Blissetts writing, drawing, and carrying out elaborate hoaxes all over the world. Four young Italians in Bologna wrote Q in the mid 1990s. It remains a bestseller in Italy and has become a cult hit throughout Europe.
Q is set at the time of the Reformation. After Luther hangs his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church, nothing is ever the same in the hallowed halls of Christianity. One of the sects which sprang up during the Reformation was the Anabaptists, Christians who discredited infant baptism and believed that the Bible was the only rule for faith and life. Q follows the adventures of a student of Thomas Munzer, Anabaptist and leader of the abortive Peasants' Revolt of 1524-25, who goes under many names, the first of which is Gustav Metzger, and Q, a papal informer. These two travel throughout Europe, trying to suss out each other's identity, sending letters to Munzer and to the Pope, making friends and enemies, hating each other's deeply felt convictions. Metzger is staying one step ahead of the heretic hunters, bent on destroying all supporters of Luther.
The translation is rickety, at best. There are long, sonorous passages filled with the formal language of the times, and then a jarring change to modern slang. "On the point of death they all denied everything that had been extorted from them with torture: small consolation, and I don't know how many were able to die in peace because of it... It was November or December 1531, around the time Lienhard Jost kicked the bucket." There is a tremendous amount of scholarship contained in the novel and the blend of fact and fiction allows room for intrigue, politics, betrayal, and that ever-familiar conundrum of terror in the name of religion. At over 750 pages, it requires a great deal of patience and attention on the part of the reader, not all of which is richly rewarded. A final cavil: Wittenberg is misspelled in the jacket copy. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Rich religious history is turned into bloated, tedious fiction in this Reformation-age epic produced by four anonymous writers lurking behind a pseudonym. In 1517, Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral. In 1525, a one-time theological student, a radical Anabaptist who goes under a number of names over the course of the narrative, but who is initially called Gustav Metzger, pulls off the first of a number of hairbreadth escapes from heretic hunters keen to spill the blood of any would-be supporter of Luther. For the next 30 years, even as Protestantism slowly makes inroads across Europe, Metzger is tracked by a papal spy who, traveling incognito under the eponymous moniker Q, keeps his boss apprised while he and his compatriots attempt to crush the movement on behalf of the Vatican before the schism widens. Needless to say, they fail. Translator Whiteside has done the best he could with the material: stripped-down chapters breathlessly composed of short, snappy paragraphs ("The girl smiles. She's extremely beautiful") alternate with epistolary passages given a faux-historical gloss. Speech anachronisms abound throughout, especially when events are related by Metzger and company (" 'What the fuck did you say? What? So you're not dead, but you scare me anyway, pal, you scare me'"), and most of the characters sound so alike that not only do they remain lifeless on the page, they are often indistinguishable from one another. A good amount of historical research is lumped throughout, but the period stylings are wooden and the story never gains enough momentum to carry readers along.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Note: As a huge history nerd, the extent and accuracy of the historical research that went into writing this thing is totally impressive.
This is a must read if you're interested in religious history and the nature of ideas/their intersections with politics. It reads in a lot of ways as an Early Modern "whodunnit" mystery. I won't say any more so as to not give anything away, but i'll just casually mention that the character growth of some of the main characters is worth the read alone.
-This book will make you teary eyed. I mean, it might... it did for me. But not so much because I felt the emotions of the characters etc, rather because it makes one of the most turbulent periods in history completely real. This was a time when old ways of thinking were turned upside down and the world was thrown into chaos. You feel that the whole way through. It has a really distinctive voice. (I didn't want it to end. AND LUCKILY IT DOESN'T HAVE TO! If it's your thing, the authors switched their name to Wu Ming and wrote a sequel called Altai.)
- Sex, violence, profanity: the essentials are all here
-It is long. But also, it is not long, because it's a page turner and you won't be able to stop. The chapters are really short and so you keep saying "One more chapter, then I'll call it a night.." No. You will not stop. Not until your eyes are sore or you need to pee, or sleep, or take your mother to the airport.
-Echoes of Marxism. If you go into it thinking about Marx and socialism more generally, you will see what I mean. In a lot of ways, the Anabaptist ideologies in here foreshadow Marxism. If you like political commentary, this will add another level of interest for you.
-Fun fact: The authors are 4 unnamed anarchists ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
-If you are unfamiliar with the politics of the Reformation period, the Anabaptists, the Inquisition, and/or conversos/marranos, I recommend looking them up, this book is so full of references to these things that I think this will help you out.
Having been raised Lutheran/Presbyterian, this one hits home and touches nerves.
Anyone interested in religion and European history-based novels will eat this one up and beg for more.
I would have liked to have rated it higher simply due to the ambition of the novel but for this reader the delivery wasn't always smooth. Sometimes I found myself falling into the story and then would be jarred out. In the first part the use of modern day words, i.e "pal", "mate" I found jarring and they didn't gel with the story/ times depicted.
However I loved the vastness of the novel, I haven't read anything of a similar vein. Loved the machinations of the characters and felt that although somewhat initially disappointed with the ending I felt on reflection that it was fitting.
It's been about twenty years since I took the history of early modern Europe (egads) but it came back quickly as I read. You will definitely get more out of the book if you know about radical Anabaptists, Munster, Catholic political struggles, and the Peasants' Revolt, but if you don't, don't worry. It's still a great read.
Originally written in Italian, the English translation is somewhat quirky. Things like "a few bob" or "suburb" stick out a bit when you're immersed in the mid-sixteenth century. But it's minor.
Very much recommended.