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Throttling the Bard Paperback – December 12, 2010
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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"Motorcycles, nude people, riding fast, police chases, explosions, book burnings, scamming bikers at a biker bar....there's something in this book for everyone."
Throttling the Bard is a book of literature. Constant wordplay, dynamic characters, spiteful villains, and delightful scenery all come together in this adventurous tale of two interesting wordsmiths riding across Nevada. --deathbydenver.com/
From the Inside Flap
Inside flap? Are you kidding? This is a paperback!
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He zipped his pants, then pulled out his red pen and circled the phrase that read, "For a good time call," and wrote above it, "cliché. ` Good time' is vague. Try something fresh, something new, i.e. for an eternity spent in the safe and non-judging arms of an inanimate blow-up doll call...."
Quentin Mann, the other main character, is a graduate student who, when he is nervous or uncertain about a situation, imagines a narration of the scene in his head where, in the guise of a character he calls "tall, dark, and handsome," he gets through the situation.
There are references to classic literature throughout, with Shakespeare, Chaucer, Cervantes, and others making cameos. If your reading diet doesn't include these, don't be put off by that. I scanned the bibliography at the end and found I've read only one of the books listed, yet never felt I wasn't getting the references. Barry gives the reader enough context to do so without, plus many of these books are those that most reasonably literate readers are likely to have a clue about, even if they've never read them. For example, I know Don Quixote was prone to "tilting at windmills," even though I haven't read Cervantes' classic. Those who have actually read the book might notice subtleties I didn't, but not doing so will not prevent enjoying the book.
"Throttling the Bard" has all the adventure you'd expect of a road trip tale. This is enhanced by the protagonist's travels through an area with lots of, by most standards, strange people and places. Vendicarsi and Quentin encounter book-burning religious cults, legal brothels, and put in an appearance at The Burning Man festival in this trip off the beaten path through the heart of Nevada. I found "Throttling the Bard" a smart and literate read that still had me rolling on the floor.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Hearing the title I was initially quite intrigued as I thought it might be referencing auto - erotica. Upon reading the book I soon discovered that it was not.
Though I detest drug use of any kind and abhor it in literature, (yes Hunter S Thompson, I never liked ye') I found its use in this novel both idealized and refreshing.
Having grown up in the 70's where the use of cults as plot devices seemed to have started and, I had prayed, ended, I could feel myself grooving to songs from Casey Kasem's weekly top 40 in days gone by as I read that particular part of this engaging travelogue.
To continue the theme of 'things I don't like, but yet I like in this book', I hate 'Burning Man' and all the hippies, dippies and wannabes that inhabit the yearly celebration of people who find personal hygiene tedious and bourgeois. Thankfully, I could imagine the experience through this wonderfully well crafted tome without having to see them, smell them or listen to them. It was a pleasure.
This writer is quite talented and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Those still paying off their student loans can relate to this book and feel that there are people who do sympathize with you. Being a former academic adviser I can attest to the mockery of the academic setting. Perhaps the characters within may be your coworkers, students or teaching assistants (TA's).
Although I have never been to Burning Man, I have friends who have gone, and with their vivid stories of all the incredible art work on the playa, their stories match the descriptions within this novel. I have to say I will never be able to look at kool-aid again without laughing.
Each chapter begins with a Latin saying (including translation) that are indicative to the inner workings of each chapter. These helped increase the excitement of what was to come and made it difficult to put the book down. Thus I was sad when the story ended as I am a voracious reader but have read very few books that I have been sad to see a story end.
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Yes, I read Throttling the Bard because it was strongly recommended by a good friend.Read more