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Romantic (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. Mai 2004

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'Beyond good.' Elle 'Heartbreaking and riveting' Red 'Quite suddenly, Canada's female novelists are taking the literary world by storm. There was never any question about the extraordinary qualities of Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood, but now Barbara Gowdy has clearly joined them and her sixth novel underlines how she has matured. A story of abandonment and alcoholism, told with insight and warmth in the most exquisite prose, Gowdy's new novel quietly casts a distinct spell. By the time it is over, you desperately want to start again. It is that good.' Daily Mail 'Barbara Gowdy's speciality is dysfunctional families. That might not sound too promising, given that unhappy families, contrary to Tolstoy's oft-quoted assertion, are all alike, but this Canadian writer is gifted with a deliciously black wit, and an ear for the quirks and tics of the unconventional. Having encompassed not only Siamese twins, transsexuals, necrophiliacs and elephants in her previous novels, she seems to be on more traditional ground in The Romantic, an examination of the mysteries of love between two damaged children ... Gowdy's compassion lights up even her most minor characters ... talented, witty and thoughtful.' Amanda Craig, New Statesman, Book of the Week


How do you love someone who sits, smiling, at the edge of oblivion? Award-winning Canadian writer Barbara Gowdy unravels a romance, and the idea of romance, in this spry, witty, agile novel full of all the species of love. Louise Kirk falls in love. She's 10, lives in a cosy, unremarkable suburban home, but, remarkably, has lost a mother already. Or, rather, her chic, sharp mother has disappeared. So, Louise, lonely and steeped in complicated yearnings, decides to fall in love. Furiously. First, she falls in love with her magnificent new neighbour, the operatic and exotic Mrs Richter. Then, within the year, she falls for Mrs Richter's brilliant son Abel. Distracting him from his attentive study of everything around him -- the constellations, the moths, the music -- proves quite a struggle. But before long Abel finds he loves Louise 'too much'. A dozen years later, Abel is gone and Louise is devastated. This is the unravelling story of their romance...In The Romantic, Barbara Gowdy tracks and identifies all the species of love.

Each of her characters is iridescent, but Louise Kirk, who flies to love again and again like a moth at a lamp, is a creature from whom no reader will easily tear their gaze.

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Format: Taschenbuch
On a recent trip to Canada, I bought The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy. It was lying on a pile of books by Canadian authors; I picked it up because of the cover, but I bought it because of one line on the back:
"When she is nine years old, her former beauty queen mother "disappears," leaving a note that reads only - and incorrrectly - "Louise knows how to work the washing machine."
I thought that was just great - and captured the mix of tragedy and wry comedy which is apparant throughout the book.
I've come to the conclusion that I very much like Canadian authors - I haven't ready anything by one that I haven't enjoyed, and some are simply wonderful. This turned out to be a real find, and is one of the best books I've read for ages. Yes, you can compare it to Atwood, but it's so much more than that - Gowdy really does have a voice of her own. It was unbearably sad at the end - I was sitting in the airport trying to fight back tears when all I really wanted to do was have a good old sob. Wonderful stuff. Will definitely have a look for other titles by her.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ccb08d0) von 5 Sternen 15 Rezensionen
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9cf7afd8) von 5 Sternen Beautiful - Heartbreaking - Everything You Could Ask For 22. Juni 2003
Von Caroline P. Hampton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This beautiful tale that crosses time and passions is a one of the loveliest books I have read in ages. "The Romantic" by Barbara Gowdy is an amazingly look into the world of Louise Kirk, and her childhood infatuation with neighbor boy, Abel. When Louise's own family leaves her cold and wanting better - she begins a life long fascination and some might say addiction with the Richter family.
Ms. Gowdy's talent is full and complete. I loved her use of tone and romance. Her characters are fully developed - and she handles loss with such grace and talent. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. Really amazing read!
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c901b58) von 5 Sternen Outstanding! 21. Oktober 2003
Von Melanie - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is the first book by Gowdy I've read, and I feel lucky that I happened to find this true literary gem. The characters are ordinary people with ordinary lives, but they are made extraordinary through Gowdy's profound insights, humour, and her obvious ability to give her characters great emotional depth. The two main characters are Louise and Abel, who grew up on the same street in suburban Toronto in the 60s. Both are only children in families that defy the nuclear norm, and as is typical of children, because they are different they are subsequently outcasted from their peer group. Their strong friendship is an oasis for Louise, and Abel lets Louise into his world of exploring the ravine in their neighbourhood. The great dialouge and humour in the book can be illustrated by this passage:
"On our second date, at a French restaurant, I learn that he's an accountant who 'came this close' to being married once. 'It wasn't meant to be,' he says easily. I am warmed by his optimism and by how his eyes soften when we talk about Peter, and yet, by dessert, it's clear that there won't be a third date. 'I can't believe it,' he says after I admit that Peter's tournament was not only the first game of baseball I'd ever sat through, but the first game of sports, period. He says, 'You mean to tell me you never rooted for your high school football team?' He sounds truly puzzled. What I find unbelievable is that the only books he own are "Ask a Handyman" and "The World Almanac of Natural Disasters".
The story's main theme is love, with all of its different forms and all of its dynamics. Parental love is a prominent feature, as Louise's relationship with her mother is analyzed, along with the Richter's parental influence. The cycle of romantic love and all the craziness of it are touched upon, with a message about love's ability to both heal and destroy. Louise seems unable to truly love anyone but Abel, despite that Abel doesn't have the same love for her, and Louise tries to move on with her life without Abel in it by working in menial jobs and dating other men, who she always rejects even when they are delightful, because they are not Abel. It is painful to read her behaving like a idiot, despite that she is clearly intelligent. The self-destructive nature of both Abel and Louise is an interesting commentary on how trauma in our childhood can shape us, and yet at the same time the alcoholic in this novel is not the person with the absent mother who treated her as if she was a dress-up doll, but instead is the artistic individual with adoring parents, lots of talent and opportunity, and a vast array of friends.
I highly recommend this book. The honesty, insights, and wisdom that come from this book are remarkable, and the story is beautifully haunting and touching.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9ccf8b04) von 5 Sternen One of the Best Books In A While 15. Juni 2004
Von blistex - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It has been a long time since I have been so taken with a novel as I was with Barbara Gowdy's The Romantic. The Romantic tells the tragic love story of Louise and Abel as they grow from two children who live on the same street in a Toronto neighborhood into adults fighting to find their places in the world, and their story could not be told more beautifully. Gowdy's writing reveals all of the quirks and habits of two everyday people that make them unique and wonderful, as well as the things that make them terrible. She brings poignancy to mundane moments, and the story is so well-crafted that it will leave you wanting more, and more, and more, even though the end of the story is revealed on the first page.
The main characters are human, and Gowdy shows them as such. They each have moments of brilliance and moments of failure and many places in between. At the end, you may not agree with them, but it is impossible not to love them like your own friends and family members.
The narrative is from Louise's perspective, and from chapter to chapter she switches from past to present. Some readers may find this jarring, but I found it to be surprisingly cohesive due to Gowdy's skill at bringing the reader back and forth without confusion. The changes in time add to the book's suspense, and with every flash back or forward in time, the reader is left wanting to find out what happened next, reading on more and more urgently to find out.
The Romantic has restored my faith that the art of the novel is still alive and well and living on your local bookstore's shelves. Any serious reader would be hard pressed not to love this book.
7 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9e5f724c) von 5 Sternen Love in All its Madness 9. Mai 2003
Von Milko McGillicuddy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." Friedrich Nietzsche's take on love could apply to Louise Kirk, the main character in this book. Louise becomes acquainted with love at an early age, falling in love at the age of nine with Abel, the adopted son of her neighbours. This happens just after her former beauty queen mother leaves without a reason or a trace. Abel moves away, but as the two grow up, they have a series of separations and reunions, each with both sublime and painful moments. Each break-up has its reasons for being the permanent end of the relationship. But the relationship goes on and on, seeming to have a life of its own. Louise has many struggles--the disappearance of her mother, her father's remote parenting, his endless and hopeless longing for his wife to return, the awkwardness of finding a life. Louise becomes a woman, and despite many reasons to do so, never loses her love for Abel, who can't quite love her back the way she loves him. This is the story of the endless permutations and combinations of love--young, innocent, joyful, painful, unrequited, lost, tragic. This story's subtlety is deceptive. It is powerful. It will haunt you. Did you love enough? Too much? Compare yourself to Louise.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c900120) von 5 Sternen Barbara's Genius 22. Januar 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I picked out The Romantic from the recent arrivals shelf in my library for light weekend reading. At that time little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the best books I've read in years.
Barbara Gowdy's ability to relay the emotions and feelings of her characters is a talent rarely seen in other authors. She puts her characters into unexpected plots and subsequently shows us through their emotions, how they are able to deal with their situation; whether successfully or tragically.
I really enjoyed the book and so will many others. It is a rare find!
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