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As If (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 12. Januar 1998

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: Granta Books; Auflage: New edition (12. Januar 1998)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1862070458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862070455
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,1 x 2 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.759.281 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

Blake Morrison attended the 1993 trial of two 10-year-old boys in Liverpool, England, who were accused of killing a 2-year-old; he wrote about the case for the New Yorker. Three years later, the case was still haunting him, so he returned to the subject to examine its impact on a more personal level.

More than anything, Morrison wanted an answer as to why the murder happened. He had started out (naively) believing that this was a question the trial would answer, and was dismayed to find that it was the one issue the court never addressed. Do the boys themselves know why? "I don't think they'll ever know," Morrison writes. "The further they go from it and the more they talk to therapists, the more they will develop a story about what happened. But whether that's a true story is very debatable... There isn't going to be the single answer that we all crave."

And so Morrison turned inward to look for answers, mulling over his own experiences of being a child and being a parent. As If (named from the expression he hears his children using to express skepticism) is an extended personal essay on the nature of childhood, including aggressive and sexual feelings that children have and those that other people have toward children. With its flurry of quotations and ruminations, this book won't be to everyone's taste, but it does illustrate an intriguingly personal approach to understanding a crime. --Fiona Webster -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Synopsis

This volume seeks to expose the hollowness of condemnation divorced from understanding in relation to the Bulger murder trial. People have almost become desensitized to random murder. It is often explained away by madness, sexual fantasy or rejection. One murder in recent times reduced every person to silence: the abduction and beating to death of a helpless infant by two ten-year-old boys. How and why did two innocent boys kill another? Is childhood innocence a myth? And what punishment could fit such a crime, assuming that children are fit to stand trial for murder? Blake Morrison went to the trial in Preston, and discovered a sad ritual of condemnation with two bewildered children at the centre. He looked for possible explanations in the boys' families, their dreary environment, their fantasies, their exposure to violent films. He evokes the worst feats of parents through candid and raw memories of his relations with his own children, and delves into his own childhood to reveal the worst thing he has ever done, to show how easy it is to go along with cruelty.

Blake Morrison is the author of two collections of poetry, "Dark Glasses" and "The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper", and is co-editor of "The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry". His memoir, "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" won the Waterstone's/Esquire Award for non-fiction and the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography in 1993.


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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Blake Morrison's "As If" was this reader's favorite find of the year. Morrison finds himself compelled to view the unfolding of Liverpool's James Bulger murder trial, and in doing so is forced to assess his own life in relation to what it means to grow up "normally". Who is truly guilty or innocent in this shocking act of two ten-year olds murdering a two-year old? He says he must determine the "why" of the crime. As we sink with him into the morass, we find that the answer becomes more and more elusive, and we wonder how different these families are from yours or mine.
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Von Ein Kunde am 27. Februar 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I bought this novel in the summer while I was in England. A few weeks ago, when I was looking for a book to read, I came across As If on my book shelf. Since then I have read it three times. Morrison made me ask questions of myself and of society that I would have never asked otherwise. He explains the trial, not only in a factual manner, but in an extrordinarily philosophical way as well.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 Rezensionen
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Meditation on Childhood, Murder, and "The Why." 27. Juli 2006
Von Kevin Currie-Knight - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In Liverpool, two ten year old boys have murdered a two year old boy. They encountered him - they did not know him before - in a shopping square, took him by the hand, walked him two miles to the train tracks, and bashed his skull in with bricks (and some suspect, sexually abused him). The two year old boy allegedly did not put up much fight the entire way. He was two, and two year olds are trusting.

Blake Morrison, an Englishman and father of three, was asked by the New Yorker magazine to cover and write about the trial. Morrison is interested first and foremost in one thing: the Why. What would make two ten year old boys (both were troublemakers) decide to kill a two year old stranger? Is the answer in their family history, their genetic predisposition, the movies they were watching (Child's Play 3), or what? That quest to find The Why is what this book is primarily about.

Along with an account of the very short and relatively unclimactic trial we get ruminations on childhood, parenting, the 'nature' of evil, and even the justice system. Morrison is quite good at this, and where many would come off sounding like an amalgamation of plattitudes, Morrison really does have something to say on all of these subjects.

Yet, what bugged me - and bugged me it did - was that Morrison is too 'literary' for his own good. Every sentence finds Morrison trying to be witty and poetic, outdoing the last. There is a time and a place for this kind of spakly writing, but, to my eyes, this was decidedly not the venue for it (at least, keep the floweriness in moderation!).

The other complaint was that while Morrison is an above-average ruminator, anyone looking for a 'trial story' will be disappointed by this book. The book is probably 1/3 trial and 2/3 reflection and rumination. And it does, to be honest, tend to drag because of that.

So, to sum up, "As If" is an average book and I cannot say I am suprised to see it (seemingly) out of print. It is a book that will be hard pressed to hold the interest of any but the most patient or intrigued readers.
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"As If" makes us think. 26. Dezember 1999
Von Georgeann M. Jolley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Blake Morrison's "As If" was this reader's favorite find of the year. Morrison finds himself compelled to view the unfolding of Liverpool's James Bulger murder trial, and in doing so is forced to assess his own life in relation to what it means to grow up "normally". Who is truly guilty or innocent in this shocking act of two ten-year olds murdering a two-year old? He says he must determine the "why" of the crime. As we sink with him into the morass, we find that the answer becomes more and more elusive, and we wonder how different these families are from yours or mine.
10 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The most profound book I have ever read. 27. Februar 1999
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I bought this novel in the summer while I was in England. A few weeks ago, when I was looking for a book to read, I came across As If on my book shelf. Since then I have read it three times. Morrison made me ask questions of myself and of society that I would have never asked otherwise. He explains the trial, not only in a factual manner, but in an extrordinarily philosophical way as well.
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent narrative, with a fatal flaw 20. Juni 2013
Von Judy Croome - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
The 2* rating I've given AS IF in no way reflects on the excellence of the narrative, which leads one to read compulsively from page to page.

Rather, my rating of this book is to highlight what is mostly forgotten in this book: that a society, which forgets the victims of a crime in its concern for the rights of the perpetrators, is neither liberal nor civilised, but merely sliding from one unhealthy extreme of human nature to another.

Yes, as Morrison so eloquently calls for in the last chapter of AS IF, to be considered civilised, we must move away from a lynch mob mentality, which demands retribution with no thought or consideration of understanding the WHY of a seemingly unpardonable act. But that does not mean society should move to the opposite pole either, where thinking becomes so liberal that no individual, however violent, has to take responsibility for the consequences of his/her actions.

This is what AS IF does. An elegant and intellectual essay exploring the WHY behind the James Bulger murder, AS IF has one fatal, fundamental flaw: the author's blindness to the fact that, in his strong identification with Thompson and Venables (more about the WHY of *that* later), he forgets to understand the fears and feelings, limitations and troubles of another young child and his family.

Several other reviewers of this book have indicated that Morrison focused too much on his own feelings to the detriment of the book. Although, at times, the prose is to consciously literary, too consciously long-winded (he likes his long lists, he does), it's so lyrically emotional that this interiority of the well-written prose is what makes it such an interesting read.

However, what is more challenging and thought provoking about this book is the way the author identifies so strongly with the perpetrators and seeks excuses for them in their upbringing. He constantly defends them; in his aching compassion for them he seeks justification and excuses for their act to such a strong degree that he appears to lose sight of "the tiny victim" James Bulger, and his parents. This brought to mind the angry cry in Ralph Bulger's recent book: "I get so angry that it always seems to be about them and not my baby." [Pg 98 "My James: The Heartrending Story of James Bulger by His Father" by Ralph Bulger, Rosie Dunn|17269253]]

AS IF does make the Bulger murder case all about the "innocence" of the child murderers and the effect it had on their families and, by doing so, Morrison forgets the ravished innocence of James Bulger and the shattered expectations his parents.

Given the anguished suffering of Morrison's search for understanding the WHY behind the perpetrators actions before condemning them, this seeming inability of an otherwise erudite, compassionate and intelligent author to show an equal compassion for the Bulger's side of the story puzzled me.

Why is his empathy reserved so clearly for the "terrifying experience" of the child murderers to the exclusion of any exploration of the utter terror of what young James must have experienced at the hands of these two perpetrators? Is it because Thompson and Venables are there, alive in court to garner sympathy with their youth and their tears, but James is dead and buried out of sight and, it seems in this book, mostly out of Morrison's mind as well?

Why the understanding and compassion for the difficulties of Thompson's mother Ann, and Venables' parents, Susan and Neil when, even as he sympathises with her, Morrison subtly sneers at Denise Bulger for allowing Hello magazine to tell her story [Pg 58]? The Bulgers come from a similar background to the Venables and the Thompsons - poor, rough and uneducated. Thus, Morrison's prejudice against them throughout the book [Pg 32; 227-229 & others] is incomprehensible when given his intense search for understanding and the compassion he has for the Thompson and Venables families.

Incomprehensible, that is, until near the end when he reveals - with what appears to be a searing honesty - the WHY of why he identifies so strongly with Thompson & Venables as "innocent" children unfairly judged for a crime they committed without a full understanding of what they were doing.

Morrison's guilt at his youthful actions [Pg 208 to 214] lies at the heart of his need for society to forgive Thompson and Venables for, if they can find forgiveness, then surely he can too. But the cases are vastly different and Morrison's arguments and defence of Thompson and Venables fail because of his inability to detach himself from his personal reasons for identifying with them. With that inability, he creates another injustice: he forgets the torment and suffering of the only truly innocent child in this case, young James Bulger.

For, as young as they were Thompson and Venables had a window of opportunity, when - even with a child's supposedly limited consciousness of the difference between wrong and right - they could have chosen not to murder, and brutally murder at that, a young toddler who, in his innocence, had trusted them. Morrison himself, in justification and understanding of Thompson and Venables extreme abuse of James, quotes statistics that say 80% of abused children become abusers themselves [Pg 200].

Again, Morrison's reasoning fails him because of his too-strong identification with the perpetrators. Why didn't he look at this statistic in another way: 20% of abused children do NOT grow up to become abusers. On that long walk from Boodle Strand to the railway line, in all those long minutes that baby James was crying for his mum and his dad, why didn't Thompson and Venables choose to become part of the 20% who do NOT abuse others and release young James rather than kill him?

Morrison's closing chapter is a brilliant exposition of what forgiveness means and why it's necessary for humankind's evolution. But at what point does forgiveness become a doorway to condone actions that take humanity away from the very path of civilization that it's supposed to lead us to in our quest to become more humane, rational beings?

Like the Bulger case itself, AS IF by Blake Morrison will raise more questions than it answers. Whichever side of the divide you stand on in this case, AS IF makes an important contribution in that it succeeds in removing much of the "demonization" of Thompson and Venables. One is left wondering whether they are merely lost souls, rather than pure evil. And one can't help thinking, there but for the grace of God go our children: safe, happy and, hopefully, kind.
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