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Quicksand Kindle Edition
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[Like] Philip Roth at his angriest and funniest…Quicksand is a similarly high-octane read; it recalls and updates the tradition of Jewish-American fiction in the same spirit as Gary Shteyngart or Jonathan Safran Foer….
Aldo Benjamin’s fate is as complicated as his character…. What is heroic about him is that he never becomes a hero…He is one of those rare characters who will live on in our collective literary imagination.” (The Saturday Paper (Australia))
"Steve Toltz's Quicksand--narrated by Aldo and Liam, two epic Aussie screw-ups and lifelong best friends—is one of the smartest, funniest, angriest novels I have ever read. But it's also a surprisingly touching meditation on friendship and family, on art and God, on law-breaking and law enforcement…A brilliant piece of fiction, from a novelist who so clearly sees the outsized pleasures and terrors of our troubled time. " (Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England and The Happiest People in the World )
"Quicksand crackles with such intensity it made me turn the pages with a harder snap, lean closer, want to gnaw the words. This is a novel of sneak-attack seriousness, so funny it fools you into letting down your guard—then knocks you upside the head with intense intelligence, probing thought, raw pain. For all the wit and wisdom in this book, all the pleasures contained in its raucous, furious, fearless pursuit of truths, the greatest thrill comes when it strikes you that you’ve never read anything quite like it before, that you just might have stumbled—startlingly, unsettlingly—on something close to genius in the writing of Steve Toltz." (Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea )
“The energy, the hairpin turns, the narrative crashes, the stomach churning ascents and trashed taboos: what a joy to surrender oneself to a writer of such prodigious talent.” (Peter Carey, Booker Prize-winning author of Amnesia )
“It is very rare for me to laugh on almost every page of a book; it is even rarer for that to be accompanied by exquisite melancholy. Toltz is writing like very few other authors; he seems like an Antipodean Thomas Bernhard in his unsparing, agonizing comedies. I hope it is not seven years before his next novel.” (Scotland on Sunday (UK))
"Highly original,entertaining and almost impossible to summarize, this is a high-octane,adrenaline-fuelled, frenetic tour de force of sustained brilliance. There is wit, laugh-out-loud humour and linguistic fireworks and dexterity on almost every page..." (Mail on Sunday (UK))
"Brilliantly dark...The entire novel is buzzing with the power of human connection – the jokes, accommodations and shared mythologies of love and friendship. Even in a book overflowing with solipsists and monomaniacs, would-be artists and theories about art, it remains a creative force to be reckoned with." (The Guardian (UK))
“Darkly comic and increasingly cosmic. . .It takes a very good writer to pull off this style, but Toltz is supremely capable. . .A scream of triumph.” (The Literary Review (UK))
"Aldo Benjamin, the novel's hero, is a modern-day Job who endures terrible things: beatings, catastrophic injuries, prison rape, multiple bankruptcies. Trust me, it's very funny… every page has zingers that you'll want to read to other people. Steve Toltz is touched by comic genius. . . .For risque humour and razor-sharp with, look no further…Think John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces." (Robbie Millen, The Sunday Times Summer Reading Choices )
"This is a book shot through with mordant humour and sizzling inventiveness...and in Aldo, Toltz has created a magnificent character ... There is more than a hint in his make-up of Philip Roth’s cantankerous Mickey Sabbath and Woody Allen’s neurotic Alvy Singer, although his pungent humour is all his own." (Financial Times (UK))
“SteveToltz’s Quicksand proves to be thecherry on the cake – a beguiling novel that confounds and astonishes in equalmeasure, often on the same page…Part Chuck Palahniuk, part David FosterWallace,…Quicksand has a thousanddazzling throwaway moments of brilliance.… A tour de force.” (Australian Book Review)
“The funniest novel of the past year…Genuinely moving.” (The Saturday Times (UK))
“Toltz channels a poet’s delight in crafting the perfect phrase on every highly quotable page. In his epic lack of employment and sincere lust for life, Aldo Benjamin is quite a memorable character. By turns hilarious and hopeless, Toltz’s novel is a tender portrait of a charming and talented loser.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A delightful literary novel. . . . It's a challenge to do Toltz's writing justice by saying merely that it's postmodern in its mix of styles, very funny,literate, and character-driven. It's extraordinarily imaginative. The tale is ostensibly written by a failed author-turned-police-officer writing a novel about his unlucky friend whose every business venture fails horribly. This is a novel that combines the desirable quality of page-turnability with existential anguish, surreality, and absurdity. Toltz's strength is the way he has his characters deal with the hard reality of having rotten luck in a meaningless world. Make up your own god, he seems to say near the end—you can't do any worse than what others have concocted.” (Psychology Today)
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR QUICKSAND
"Steve Toltz writes with a singular, propulsive energy, with sentences and characters that rise off the page with a force that leaves you almost breathless. There is more heart, and joy and compassion and hard-earned wisdom in Quicksand than seems possible for a single novel; it is life, literature at its fullest.” (Dinaw Mengestu, award-winning author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and All Our Names )
“What would happen if some genius were able to unite the high-wattage storytelling exuberance of Kurt Vonnegut, the combustive glee of Walt Whitman, and the reality-smashing despair of Franz Kafka? Impossibly, Steve Toltz has done just that, turning out a new masterpiece that is at once an old-fashioned page-turner, a tragicomic lament for the digital age, and an aching howl at the intractable existential dilemmas of our poor species. Quicksand is the sort of book that refuses to sleep between its covers on your nightstand; it is its own blazing, intricate, hysterically surreal universe, big and brilliant enough to swallow your own.” (Stefan Merrill Block, bestselling author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door )
"Steve Toltz possesses an imagination that knows no limits. His work is mordant, prophetic and very funny. He is a true original." (Patrick McGrath )
“There are more lines of genius on one page of Quicksand than in the entirety of many very respectable novels.” (Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed )
"Steve Toltz is a verbal magician and lunatic storyteller. Every page of this novel bursts with ideas and humor and pathos and incisive riffs that perfectly express the grand absurdities of the irrational universe, along with the smaller ones of a very particular friendship. Quicksand is the work of a writer in full command of his many outsized gifts, not least of which is his humanity." (Teddy Wayne, Whiting Award-winning author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine )
About the Author
- ASIN : B00P42WSWW
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (September 15, 2015)
- Publication date : September 15, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 2861 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 369 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,948 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book tells the story of an obsessive compulsive criminal and entrepreneur Aldo. The book is mostly narrated by Aldo's best friend Liam who had been both a writer and a policeman. The book tells the history of Aldo's life from a false rape accusation as an adolescent through a variety of suicide attempts and finally a murder trial. Aldo is a messed up character and Liam is somehow believable tied to him through all of this. Making me believe Liam would actually stick with Aldo is one of Toltz's great feats.
Parts of this book, especially the beginning are a bit tough to get through. When I first started I was not sure how this could be by the same author as "A Fraction of the whole" Aldo is constantly rambling and making incredible lists which I think Toltz must have considered amusing but at some point these long listed ramblings are a bit overwhelming and though the novel is often funny I do not think it is a great dark humor novel as Toltz's first book. Just a pretty good one.
Toltz's true skill in this book as in a Fraction of the Whole is his incredible plot line. While he quickly develops the characters of Aldo and Liam he is also slowly developing other characters who will have a major role in the twists at the end of the book. I was blown away by the end of Toltz's first novel and I think Quicksand also had a magnificent culmination. The last hundred pages were as exciting to read and the first hundred were worrisome and even more.
If you loved the twists and turns of plot weaving and the oh my gosh moment of A fraction of a whole you will definitely love the second half of Quicksand. It is humorous but not as much as Toltz's debut novel and during a few points I think Toltz just added sections where Aldo is being obsessive simply because he had some ideas he thought were funny and wanted to throw them in.
I read a number of the other reviews of this book. Please disregard any review that refer to the "sea Jesus" or the woman "riddled with breasts" I cannot believe that so many would write a review and only comment on the first paragraph of the book.
Top reviews from other countries
I very rarely give up on books but I am on this one as I'm losing the will to live! Thankfully I didn't pay full price. I previously read 'Big Sky' by Kate Atkinson, now I did laugh at that.
This is an edgy story that depicts the absurdity of life whilst touching the reader at the deepest level where potent emotions can find no expression. Toltz has a rare gift of being able to write with exceptional originality and his mastery of language is unparalleled by most modern writers today.
A fresh original book from an inspiring maverick of a writer.