A Gambler's Anatomy

A Gambler s Anatomy Handsome impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur whales who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon Fronted by his pasty vam

  • Title: A Gambler's Anatomy
  • Author: Jonathan Lethem
  • ISBN: 9780385539906
  • Page: 169
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Handsome, impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur whales who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, Edgar Falk, Bruno arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore Perhaps it was the chance encounter with his crass childhood acquaintanceHandsome, impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur whales who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, Edgar Falk, Bruno arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore Perhaps it was the chance encounter with his crass childhood acquaintance Keith Stolarsky and his smoldering girlfriend Tira Harpaz Or perhaps it was the emergence of a blot that distorts his vision so he has to look at the board sideways.Things don t go much better in Berlin Bruno s flirtation with Madchen, the striking blonde he meets on the ferry, is inconclusive the game at the unsettling Herr Kohler s mansion goes awry as his blot grows worse he passes out and is sent to the local hospital, where he is given an extremely depressing diagnosis Having run through Falk s money, Bruno turns to Stolarsky, who, for reasons of his own, agrees to fly Bruno to Berkeley, and to pay for the experimental surgery that might save his life.Berkeley, where Bruno discovered his psychic abilities, and to which he vowed never to return Amidst the patchouli flashbacks and Anarchist gambits of the local scene, between Tira s come ons and Keith s machinations, Bruno confronts two existential questions Is the gambler being played by life And what if you re telepathic but it doesn t do you any good

    One thought on “A Gambler's Anatomy”

    1. Alexander Bruno is a professional backgammon player. After a run of bad luck and a chance encounter with a classmate from high school, Alexander leaves Singapore for Berlin, where he winds up in the hospital after suffering from a seizure of some kind during a game. It seems Bruno has a nearly inoperable tumor and only a doctor in the US can do the operation, a doctor that lives near Bruno's former classmate.I got this from Netgalley.My only other exposure to Jonathan Lethem was Gun, With Occasi [...]

    2. "Not everything needed to rise to converge: It could just drift together into the indiscernible middle, and bewilder you." - Jonathan Letham, A Gambler's AnatomyThe more I read of Jonathan Lethem, the more difficult it becomes to separate him from Michael Chabon. They seem like literary twins writing around the same hipster Brooklyn/Berkeley geography. This novel seems grown from Pynchon, Hesse, Carey, Dostoevsky, Dumas, Leroux, Nabokov, Mann, and of course Chabon.I probably sound more irritated [...]

    3. A strange, unique, intellectual novel. This, my first Jonathan Lethem novel, was decidedly interesting yet eclectic. It was full of twists & turns as well as obscure references to historical, literary and film characters. I felt that this book was in a genre the opposite of “chick-lit.” It seemed geared toward men, focused on men, devoid of emotion. The women in this novel were there ministering to the needs of the men. It is about games, identity, masks, power, sex. Relationships lacked [...]

    4. A DNF of sorts. It went disjointedly repetitive somewhere around the middleQ:The Berliners all spoke English, and even when they didn’t, the meanings bled through. In Singapore the alien tongues of Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil had left him happily sealed in his cone of incomprehension. (c)Q:Additionally I am probably also soon losing my life, he added in pidgin telepathy, just to see if she was listening.She showed no sign of having read his thoughts. He was relieved. Alexander Bruno had forsake [...]

    5. Jonathan Lethem’s new novel combines a little of the intrigue of James Bond with all the sexiness of backgammon. The result is a literary game that’s shaken not stirred. But that’s hardly the weirdest mash-up in “A Gambler’s Anatomy, ” the latest from this MacArthur “genius” who’s been splicing together disparate genres since his first novel appeared in 1994.The story opens with another motherless hero, a professional gambler named Alexander Bruno. Raised on George MacDonald Fr [...]

    6. 4.0/10What literary event did Franzen, Lethem and Chabon all go to in Berkeley together? So. Weird. Anyway this is neither the best (Chabon) or the worst (Franzen, by a f-ing mile) of the overwritten, annoying, (mostly) out of touch books about the East Bay written by the above. If you're a 45-50 year old dude who's thought, "I can totally hang with George Clooney types and hipster anarchists because I am that cool and then maybe find a hot German woman to bathe me," you'll probably love this.Jo [...]

    7. Jonathan Lethem writes with a sardonic wit and inventiveness that rescues this book from the flatness of his protagonist Alexander Bruno. It's odd but this character is interesting but uninterested. Bruno's lack of engagement makes for a disappointing center from which we experience an otherwise compelling group of characters and settings. I was reminded of reading Eric Clapton's autobiography in which fascinating people and times are recounted by a seemingly bored individual. The writing and th [...]

    8. Unfortunately I think I've already read the best book Lethem is ever going to produce, Motherless Brooklyn. The humor, comedy, and compassion of the book have been thus far unsurpassed. His newest one, an ARC NetGalley read had a great start. Quirky and mysterious. He was clicking along as usual. I was thinking this newest one was going to far surpass some of his more "literary" efforts of the recent past. And perhaps it did. But then it devolved. Got extremely convoluted. Two major plot lines l [...]

    9. What is a face? Is it a mass behind which we create an identity? Or is it our actual identity? What happens when the face is radically changed?In “A Gambler’s Anatomy”, Alexander Bruno is a professional backgammon player, telepathic, debonair and mysterious, expertly relieving the wealthy and egotistical- frequently one and the same-of their money. "Relieving such men of their pretensions: Those were Bruno's services." We first meet him in Berlin, where he has fled from Singapore in an eff [...]

    10. Back in the day, I read Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem's brilliant and emotionally resonant noir about a private eye with Tourette's Syndrome. I always meant to read more by this talented writer, but never got around to it. So when A Gambler's Anatomy began to be reviewed and I found myself with a copy of it in my hands, I was excited to see what Lethem would do with the story of a high-stakes backgammon player, down on his luck.The book begins brilliantly, with Bruno going to Wannsee, jus [...]

    11. This book never got any momentum or went anywhere, while Lethem is a great writer, this novel was loosely plotted at best. The narrator was incredibly passive, and things just seemed to happen around him. The telepathy never developed into anything, or seemed at all relevant to the plot, so it could have easily been cut which is never a good sign. Also too much backgammon.

    12. As a fan of many of Lethem's books, I must say that I was a little baffled by this one. It has touches of the fantastical, for which some of his novels are famous, and while the story of the backgammon hustler was intriguing in a way, ultimately I was left a trifle confused by how things turned out. I've yet to read other reviews of this book, so I'm not sure how it has been received, but it may be the case that it was the fact I listened rather than read it that was the issue. All things consid [...]

    13. This book didn't really manage to hold my attention, and at times I found it downright irritating (e.g. is his treatment of every female character meant to be ironic? If so I don't think he carries it off, and if not yikes). Although I loved Motherless Brooklyn, I couldn't really get through Fortress of Solitude either it's possible I'm just not much of a Lethem fan after all.

    14. Ich bin ein Leseprobengimpel. Es fing so an, dass ich wissen wollte, wie es weitergeht, aber danach passiert einfach nichts mehr, beziehungsweise passieren viele Dinge, die sich aber weigern, zu einer Romanhandlung zu werden und verdächtig nach Lesereisennotizen klingen.Update: Jetzt auch etwas ausführlicher hier piqd/literatenfunk/let

    15. themaineedge/buzz/a-gaA globe-trotting backgammon hustler possessed of a gone-to-seed glamor and a rough-and-ready telepathy that comes and goes. Oh, and he also has a massive cranial tumor sitting just behind his face.This is Alexander Bruno, the protagonist of Jonathan Lethem’s “A Gambler’s Anatomy” (Doubleday, $27.95). It’s a sprawling story, rendered in Lethem’s typically mesmerizing prose, that explores the realities of the human condition by way of someone who has largely separ [...]

    16. Masks. We all wear them. We all show the world one thing, which is often opposite to what we feel inside. Is the attempt to keep things hidden bad? Indeed, places like WikiLeaks make us think so. Their stated purpose is "exposing secrets" of powerful organizations, regardless the cost. Which sounds good, and idealistic. Until you stumble upon the question, "What if the Nazi's got the US's plans for the nuclear bomb?" And the answer becomes not so clear-cut. Or are these masks, these little white [...]

    17. I had not expected to pick up another Jonathan Lethem book so soon, after finishing Men and Cartoons in March 2017—in truth, I had forgotten about A Gambler's Anatomy (or at least pushed the thought of it to the back of my mind), but there it was on the shelf, staring at me through the blank black eyeholes of a mask seemingly cut from an antique backgammon board. I pounced upon the book eagerly enough once the opportunity presented itself, though—for while my to-read pile is often tall and t [...]

    18. This book has been published in the U.K. with the title The Blot, which actually seems a much better title than A Gambler's Anatomy. In backgammon, which is the preferred game of the main character in the book, a "blot" is a piece that stands alone, vulnerable to attack. Alexander Bruno, the main character, adopts that term to refer to something that has gone horribly awry with his anatomy. There is something growing in his head, between his eye and his brain. Something that shouldn't be there.I [...]

    19. A new disappointment from one of my favorite writers. To be fair, I was entertained and sometimes fascinated despite myself due to the sheer quality and focus of Lethem's writing however pointless it may be. The characters have gimmicky misfit identities and the story reels from one thinly strung plot point to the next. Lethem's still a great stylist with some funny dialogue and description, but I couldn't feel anything about these characters especially the main one. There's so little sense of h [...]

    20. Lethem has several great books under his belt already, but this isn't one of them. It seems like he wrote it to just tojust to write it. Y'know? I don't know anything about backgammon, and have no desire to spend time learning the finer points so that I can appreciate the story. Made it about 30 pages in. Lethem has become one of our Great American Writers, but in doing so lost that punk edge that made his earlier novels and short stories and experiments (and even some of his more recent essays) [...]

    21. Lethem delivers some great sentences in this book: every other pages offers something like "He sought consolation in the idea that he would die within the ancient preserve of Charite, the plague asylum, but in this antiseptic modern wing it was no good. Perhaps they would release him to the streets, and he would expire on the lawn before some nineteenth-century brickwork renamed for a Nazi doctor, or atop a cairn of paving stones." But the story is not great; in fact it's a bit dull, and hard to [...]

    22. Parts of this novel were very enjoyable, but ultimately it was a frustrating and unsatisfying read with a rather dull and perfunctorily wrapped-up ending. The novel's main antagonist is hilariously and unsubtly based upon a real life Berkeley persona who I once worked for, and I perhaps derived a little more enjoyment than I would have normally because of this. After finishing this book, I was compelled to start re-reading Fortress of Solitude to make sure I hadn't overestimated Jonathan Lethem' [...]

    23. This is a very intoxicating book. Once started it is hard to stop reading. I had no idea what to expect page to page. I had no idea how it was going to end or even how I wanted it to end. But, I was glad it did end. The story is very unsettling. This is my first encounter with Mr. Lethem's work and I look forward to discovering his other novels.

    24. Yes – and no. I like Jonathan Lethem. I’m usually willing to go along for the ride, to invest the time his novels demand. And up to a point the same applied to this, his latest original and for the most part compelling tale of a professional backgammon gambler whose future career and possibly his very life is under threat when he develops a blind spot, what he calls a “blot” in his vision. A “blot” is also the term used in backgammon for a piece that stands alone, vulnerable to attac [...]

    25. In “The Blot”, Jonathan Lethem tells the story of Alexander Bruno, a telepathic professional backgammon gambler who discovers a “blot” in his vision, and that unless he does something about it he’s living on borrowed time. I usually enjoy Jonathan Lethem’s books, and I thought this would be the case again, as the beginning of the novel looked really promising. But in the second half of the book, the story stalled and lost interest, and I ended the book feeling quite disappointed and [...]

    26. Three start might be a little generous. I feel like I have to give more than two because Jonathan Lethem can *write*, but this book, like many of his others, feels like less than the sum of its parts. There's insights, and magical realism that may or may not be necessary, and strange happenings, and what comes around goes around, but it doesn't really hang together. It's maybe the most Murakamiesque Lethem I've read?If you haven't already read Lethem, I think Motherless Brooklyn is the best full [...]

    27. Trying to explain what happens in this book would be nearly impossible, so I'll just say this: it's James Bond meets Kafka meets Kurt Vonnegut. Like all of Lethem's others it's often clever, occasionally impenetrable, and always utterly weird. Anybody who likes their fiction with a dark sense of humor and an absurdist philosophical twist will likely get great enjoyment out of this one; I certainly did.

    28. I'm a fan of Lethem's work, so I'm biased. I love the way he can take the familiar and then bend it around and then head into some rather strange territory. The characters are fun to follow, but I have to admit that there were few of them that I found likable. But this is a perfect example of a story where you don't have to have someone to root for. Great fun with a comic flare.

    29. It was good to read about Marina Bay and Orchard Road actually knowing what they look like. As for the book - not bad, stakes go up, down, same as in life. Mastering backgammon is becoming your own master, which is exactly the point.

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