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Table 41 by [Joseph Suglia]

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Table 41 Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


From Genevieve Eileen, an Australian reader:
You write the most successful and well-used run-on sentences. This is easily the most interesting use of a dream in a story I've seen in many, many years.
Dr Joseph Suglia demonstrates his erudition with the powerful use of a dream and run-on sentences bringing magic to Table 2 of his work "TABLE 41." I almost feel guilty using quotation marks as he eschews them in the work in favour (favor, ok) of an em-dash introducing dialogue. This formatting also makes his work more pleasurable and unique.
From Moments, a Catalan reader:
I have enjoyed this novel very much for the originality in the content and development of the story. Table 41 reminds me of some classical science fiction books where animals turn against humans; I mean post-apocalyptic novels like John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids or Daphne du Maurier's novelette The Birds, which gave birth to Alfred Hitchcock's film. But I think Table 41 differs from such literary works mainly because of three things:
*a) it belongs to our modern digital era as several descriptions indicate. From Table 10: "the sun was as pink as a Macintosh iPhone".
b) it is written in the 2nd person singular using the historical present, which makes the reader feel more involved in the story.
c) it has a tremendous humoristic touch although it is meant to be a serious narrative at the same time. I love the humor mixed with the increasing tension of Table 10 when the girl rides the ostrich, also the definitions of the difficult words: corvid, maceration, etc., as if treating all humans as stupid beings, which we very often are. In fact, Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland also did this. I love lines like this: "Nothing is more beautiful than the Egyptian vulture...". On the one hand it is true but, on the other, humans are being assaulted by a "bird-tornado."
Table 41 is also a critique of today's shallowness in a digitalized world where people no longer pay attention to what is important in life, that is, to nature and to the other human beings. Instead, they seem to be just interested in the material things, in their mobile telephones, in the unhealthy hamburgers at McDonalds which have been overtaken by the animals' retaliation. From Table 10: "Girl collides with you. Not paying attention to you, only to her telephone".
There is originality in the language. It is elaborate, at times very musical, vibrant and with lovely wordplays. There are also a lot of prose-poetry lines, just like what Jack Kerouac was able to do in his novel On the Road. I particularly love the sea descriptions of Table 1 and how the sea-boy emerges from the water. I am still thinking about the significance of this character in the novel, the whiteness of the eyes. Is it an alien? A fallen angel? Someone we should learn from? There is also a white cat and later on a girl, lady of ancient Greece with a white rose, "indifferent to the frogs". I wonder at the significance of all this, especially of the colors white, pink and black. White could symbolise innocence, pink could stand for youth, immaturity and lust, whereas black could suggest a bad omen, evil and danger. Also, I love these two very poetic descriptions of Table 10:
a) description of a girl: "A girl is nestling in the tree. One blonde strand of hair describes a question mark on her lineless forehead..."
I wonder: is this question mark a double meaning? On the one hand it is the form of the hair strand but, on the other, it could be a metaphor for a question mark: the girl is acting differently. Unlike the majority of the people, she is in the tree (in the tree of life? in what really counts in life?). She may ask herself questions about life and nature and she slithers down the tree to be embraced by her father.
b) description of an eagle: "The eagle extends its broad wings and vaults into the vaults of the sky. Its feathers resemble fingers, fingers that are playing an invisible celestial piano. The eagle makes its incandescent descent, the sun burning furiously behind it."
As a reader I experienced the welcoming "you" narrative positively because I felt I was inside the story, which I found original. In fact, apart from Duras' and Faulkner's novels, many poems are often written in the you-person because it helps the reader enter and so you can identify yourself more easily with everything you are reading. It is like the poem or story disappears, which is the ultimate effect any writer seeks.
Love this: "to paint with words" and "the book assaults you". The baobab tree assaulted me while listening to the narrative. The power of nature vs. the power of our modern digital media and social networks, where the latter hinders us from marveling at the simplest things of life (i.e. I am usually sitting on a train and either reading a book or looking at the landscape, the sky, the sun, etc., while the majority of the people are busy with their smartphones and thus losing their ability to perceive and enjoy nature's beauty.
I like the metaphors of the milk and the tree as they both mean life. I have immediately made the connection milk and tree= birth and life. I also like the critique of the capitalist consumerist society: "We represent and then we experience". The author nails it.
I love the unexpected turn of the novel at this point, especially the chapter where the living unprocessed pigs attack the Consumeria that sold processed slaughtered pork produced according to the mandate of our nonsensical capitalist world. Also, I am glad the sea-boy appears at this point of the novel. Buried in the baobab tree? I am still wondering at the significance and symbology of this character. As I already commented I see a metaphor of life in the milk and in the baobab tree: there is birth in the milk, a rebirth for humanity? A second chance to do things better, love nature, animals, love ourselves? The tree's symbolic meaning of wisdom will make us wiser and less ignoble? Moreover, to me the milk is as white as the "oviform pupil-less eye-globes" of the sea-boy. Purity. Innocence. Shall we ever learn from our mistakes?
From Chris Mills, an English reader:
You need to brace yourself somewhat when commencing this novel, for Joseph Suglia is a very generous writer with a salvo of descriptive ingredients at his disposal. This is not a chef who will hold back. He will not let you leave his Table (41) without you feeling utterly sated, dazzled with textures and tastes, knowing that not one of the offerings has been pedestrian or cliched. Far from the typical commercial pressures for today's writers to be slick, cynically sparing and functionally efficient, Suglia clearly wants to give so much - to make things scintillate in shifting spectra like an expressionist artist, so I feel this guy owes as much to Van Gogh as any writer. At the same time, I don't think this generosity should suggest an easy ride, not when the descriptive richness un-peels deceptively like onion-skins of consciousness, and frequent bouts of cognitive dissonance threaten to engulf like the seascape sweeping into the opening scene. Suglia's intense focus should (one might think) bring the reader 'closer' to the subject, but that's not the intention. As his Brechtian lens bores in, and for all the strangely superficial wonders of colour, tone and substance, we realise the peculiar narrative stance is borne of a spectator in a haunted dream-time, alienated and synthesising scene by disturbing scene like some bizarre, hyper-aesthetic computer. As I said: this is not easy-reading, and for all the right reasons. I must read more of this.
From Miranda Lemon, an English reader:
Table 41 is brilliant, I have read it twice and I can't wait to read it again. I always thoroughly enjoy it. It is a rich experience, when I read it I am not an outsider but a character in the story. Unique, absorbing and captivating, and I highly recommend it to every reader. 
It is a work of art, full of fascinating imagery, texture and detail. I am so glad that I came across Table 41, because it has changed the way I see literature. Each chapter is new and exciting, I think everyone should experience it.

From the Author

TABLE 41 by Joseph Suglia is a novel in which you are the main character.  And the world around you is being destroyed and recreated.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07DTK2P2F
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 17, 2018
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1464 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 296 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

About the author

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I renounce all my early books and writings — including Hölderlin and Blanchot on Self-Sacrifice (2004), Years of Rage (2005), and the first and second editions of Watch Out (2006; 2008).

I no longer endorse any of these works. They no longer represent me as an artist, as a scholar, or as a human being.

Table 41 (2019) and the final version of Watch Out (2022) are the only books that I take responsibility for. I endorse Table 41, Watch Out: The Final Version, and my more recent literary-critical writings — that is all.

--- Dr. Joseph Suglia

* * * * *

Joseph Suglia is a novelist, a literary critic, a playwright, a philosophical commentator, and, some years latterly, a video-maker.

He is an exegetist and a creator who effigiates figures that suggest his darkest feelings. His figures—they are effigurate, not effuse.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars A Review of Table 41 – A Novel written by Joseph Suglia
Reviewed in Spain 🇪🇸 on August 1, 2018
Xavier Perez-Pons
5.0 out of 5 stars A different book
Reviewed in Spain 🇪🇸 on October 26, 2019
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