A Closed Book

A Closed Book What I shall want from you are your eyes A writer blinded in a car accident employs someone to help write his new book but not as a mere scribe The world was designed to be seen the writer insists

  • Title: A Closed Book
  • Author: Gilbert Adair
  • ISBN: 9780571268641
  • Page: 190
  • Format: Paperback
  • What I shall want from you are your eyes A writer, blinded in a car accident, employs someone to help write his new book but not as a mere scribe The world was designed to be seen , the writer insists and so he requires Someone whose eyes will take the place of mine Someone capable not only of observing the world for me but of communicating his observations to m What I shall want from you are your eyes A writer, blinded in a car accident, employs someone to help write his new book but not as a mere scribe The world was designed to be seen , the writer insists and so he requires Someone whose eyes will take the place of mine Someone capable not only of observing the world for me but of communicating his observations to me so that I can then transmute them into prose Into my prose So begins the strange symbiotic relationship between the two protagonists of A Closed Book, a relationship that becomes increasingly disturbing and unsettling Recounted entirely in finely realised dialogue and what seems to be interjections of internal monologue, the reader is confined entirely to the realm of sound, to voices, as if we are being asked to privilege the evidence of the ear over that of the eye, to experience the world from the point of view of the blind writer himself As the book progresses, however, typographical and factual oddities accumulate, clues towards a darker design that is made manifest in the book s final twist, where questions raised earlier of trust, of real and figurative blindness, of self regard in both senses , of the power of language are recast from a brutally different perspective.Gilbert Adair previously won the Scott Moncrieff prize for his extraordinary translation of the late Georges Perec s A Void a novel composed without the letter e and some of that author s wit, allusiveness and self conscious artistry find their way into Adair s new book, transmuted into something altogether sinister This is a powerful psychological thriller, well paced, energetic and occasionally very funny but it also incorporates some subtle philosophical and literary questions into its narrative How far can we believe what we read or hear and how does a reader s trust in a writer s fictional world equate with the trust required in allowing someone to interpret the world for us See for yourself Burhan Tufail

    One thought on “A Closed Book”

    1. To paraphrase one fondl(e)y viewed meviewer, Josipovici flirts with postmodernism, Adair is a proud proponent. Frankly, the division is artificial, but since both state firmly their respective camps (no pun intended), resistance is useless.While Only Joking appeared in 2010, a playful twist on the shenanigans of the art heist, with only hints of the macabre and menacing, and written in the speakerless narrative sentence achieved by exorcising description from the text ie dialogue almost only, Jo [...]

    2. There is a paradox in the title—once you have closed A Closed Book, you will immediately seek re-entry—so the title should be A Perpetually Reopened, Thumbed, and Not Often Closed Book. (But, as a title, you would have to agree, this is lacking that Waterstones wow factor). Adair is one of the few writers who has used the more subtle narrative techniques common among postmodernists in genre writing (although pastiche is his passion—a popular pursuit of the pomoist), and in this thriller he [...]

    3. A Closed Book gets a 4 star rating for its innovative POMO style rendered nearly complete in dialogue. Scribble Orca you are absolutely right about this narrative-less expression form. By removing the narrator, therefore one further layer of distance, the characters inherited a vitality I hadn't experienced before.Unfortunately I had to wrench away 1 star due to the experiment (Bold-Courageous,) of mixing this innovation with a genre story of suspense. It grew dense, at times sluggish. Nowhere d [...]

    4. I am a fan of Adair - all of his books are worth reading. His subject matter is extremely varied but the defining link is his interest in deconstruction.A Clsed Book is clever, very readable but with a fatal flaw in its conception which it would be a shame to divulge as the unexpected nature of the narrative is central. This is a kind of Agatha Christie/Hitchcock thriller which questions the whole art of how a writer creates a world and misleads the reader.

    5. Ein blinder Schriftsteller engagiert einen jungen Mann, der mit ihm in seinem Haus in den Cotswolds leben und ihm bei der Verfassung eines autobiografischen Texts helfen soll. Das gesamte Buch besteht aus Dialogen zwischen diesen beiden (nur selten kommen weitere Figuren hinzu), der Stil ist phantastisch. Man ahnt die ganze Zeit ein Geheimnis, aber nicht nur das hält den Leser bei der Stange; auch der Prozess des Schreibens und die Art wie dieser bestimmte Autor schreibt, werden wunderbar karik [...]

    6. I enjoyed this book. I thought it was very clever to only write in dialogue, as the main character is blind and so can only discover what is going on based on what he hears/feels. The dialogue was never boring and it was well thought out and written. The plot was intresting and the twists, whilst I sort of expecting them (it started to fall into place about half way through), it still somewhat shocked me.

    7. Ich bin wirklich froh eines schönen Tages über Gilbert Adair gestolpert zu sein, nicht nur wegen der Evadne Mount-Trilogie, sondern auch wegen einer Perle wie Bildband. Die Geschichte des blinden Autoren und seines Gehilfen kommt gänzlich ohne szenische Beschreibungen aus und lebt rein von seinen Dialogen.Es ist ein stürmischer Abend, an dem Sir Paul, ein einsamer, erfolgreicher und vermögender Schriftsteller, den jungen John Ryder einstellt, damit er ihm beim Schreiben seines neuen Buches [...]

    8. Picked this up in a secondhand bookshop attracted by the back cover references to Stephen King and Agatha Christie. It is indeed a bit of both and more. All written in dialogue form which could be off putting but in my view isn’t and adds to the suspension. It’s actually more a 3.5*

    9. Considering the craft of writing A Closed Book is linguistically well done and plot-wise not badly shaped either. As the dominant form of narration is dialogue, it’s rather an intimate play than a novel. However, it’s an entertaining read with a couple of surprising twists. It’s dense, at times a little spooky, it’s got some good ideas and it’s quite clever. Yet, it never entirely drew me in. On the contrary, I was irritated from the outset and the closer I reached towards the end, the [...]

    10. Irgendwie fällt es mir bei diesem Buch schwer meine Meinung darüber zu formulieren, obwohl man bereits an der Tatsache, dass ich es innerhalb von wenigen Stunden gelesen habe, sicher erkennen kann, dass es weder an der Spannung noch am guten Textfluss fehlt - vielleicht einfach deshalb weil man am Ende nicht mehr weiß, wem man seine Sympathie nun widmen soll.Sehr auffällig ist natürlich zunächst einmal, dass fast die ganze Handlung des Buches nur über Dialoge abgehandelt wird, abgesehen v [...]

    11. Unbedingt 2x lesen!Paul Reader, berühmter Schriftsteller, seit einem Unfall blind, grauenhaft entstellt und in völliger, selbstgewählter Isolation lebend, plant ein neues Buch zu schreiben. Dafür engagiert er den wesentlich jüngeren John Ryder, der für ihn schreiben und Recherchen durchführen soll. John zieht bei ihm ein und trotz Pauls schwieriger Art zeigt die Zusammenarbeit Fortschritte, das Buch nimmt Gestalt an. Doch etwas scheint mit John nicht zu stimmen Fast der komplette Roman is [...]

    12. Blind writer cut off from the world by his own will hires a secretary who is supposed to become a replacement for the eyes the writer had lost in a car accident. But how can one trust the eyes of another person?I would give the book 3.5 stars. The plot is not bad: after all, revenge is a traditionally fascinating motif :))The main character's contemplations on blindness and literature are not uninteresting, but seem to be somewhat ostentatious. Despite of the very promising plot and quite intere [...]

    13. Очень двойственный впечатления у меня остались от этой книги. С одной стороны большая ее часть, а точнее примерно 90%, представляет собой унылое нечто ( здесь на язык просится совсем другое, но слишком грубое слово:)) читать которое было откровенно скучно и я несколько раз пор [...]

    14. What a strange bookI picked this up at a second hand book store and had never heard of the author.It started off really slowly and I wondered when something would start happeningAn isolated cottage deep in the Cotswolds where a recently- blinded author lives.He decides to write another book and advertises for somebody to assist him so that he can dictate the book to him.All goes fairly well until the house-keeper's husband is taken ill and she no longer comes in to work. The assistant then start [...]

    15. One reason I picked up this book to read: it is written (almost) entirely in dialogue. At first I got the impression that this style would be confusing, but not so. A bit slow at first - the book writing part was a bit of a bore, but reading on, little by little, the tension mount, and I was hooked. Finished this in one sitting! Oh, this is one of the books that fares better if you knew nothing about it beforehand, so I have to stop here :)

    16. Another rating: 5/10I don't know why but I really didn't enjoy this book. Story was transparent and main character didn't act logically. I mean he was blind but he believed his assistant without any caution or suspicion. If I were him I wouldn't invite someone unknown to my house like that (and of course I wouldn't believe him so calmly). I thought assistant was some sociopath and it would be better than some miserable man who wanted only stupid revenge.

    17. I really enjoyed this one. Quite a page-turner and an interesting concept. You are really never sure what's going on until the end.

    18. I almost gave this book 4 stars, but I found the twist at the end rather disconcerting, and for me it didn't add to the book. I just enjoyed the drama leading up to it.

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