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Combining glittering wit, an atmosphere dense in social paranoia, and a breathtaking elegance and precision of language, White's first novel suggests a hilarious apotheosis of the comedy of manners. For, on the privileged island community where Forgetting Elena takes place, manners are everything. Or so it seems to White's excruciatingly self-conscious young narrator who desperately wants to be accepted in this world where everything from one's bathroom habits to the composition of "spontaneous" poetry is subject to rigid conventions.
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Narrator not for me
I am a big fan of Edmund White's non-fiction, and I was excited to dive into this novel. However, the narrator's style put me off, and I found it very difficult to get through this one.
2 people found this helpful
Phantasmagoric! Absurdly delightful.
I enjoyed this book by Edmund White. It is written in a very dreamlike manner(phantasmagoric) and appears to be about a young man who literally simply does not know who he is or who these people are who seem to know him.
It is definitely some type of identity breakdown regarding his sexuality as he seems to be possibly in love with a woman while drifting off into the world of a group of homosexuals ending, ultimately, in a jolting disaster.
At any rate, He is Clearly suffering some type of deep troublesome psychological breakdown, strong enough to knock him off his moorings.
I loved all the strange images and characters along the way, as well as the on going inner complexities and confusions of the main character. We are never given the man’s name as he doesn’t even know that, much as he silently struggles to find out.
I did get a little lost in the poetry towards the end, and feel I must listen to it again, and try to pay more attention to these more baffling parts. I thought Ken Kliban did a great job and was the perfect narrator for the telling of such a strange tale.
Can't judge the writing as the narration was insufferable. I was worried when I saw his name as he ruined another book I tried to listen to. Never again. Such a shame.