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  • Europa
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3,9 von 5 Sternen
3,9 von 5 Sternen
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am 19. März 2000
It's too bad that this excellent writer was given short shriftby David Gates in the New York Times, because if he achieved thebest-sellerdom he deserves in the states we might see some of his excellent novels turned into films.
But to get to the point, the things other people found fault with (too much inner life) I adored. I am so tired of lame plots and lamer dialogue. This book does what it does brilliantly, so why not leave it be? His meditation on dogs was daring and priceless, as was his general PC bashing. American readers like Gates probably missed alot -- i.e., the unification of Europe harking back to Napoleonic gradiosity. It's too bad Americans are so ill educated they can't see how well the author works in so many allusions and western myths. Parks is a one-of-a kind author. My only complaint here is that he doesn't explain his wife sufficiently -- a sketch of a woman who does nothing but vacuum is a bit lazy, even if her parents did buy them a flat. But this book excells in so many other areas where most novels don't even try, I don't take take points off. END
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am 11. Juli 2000
The campus novel goes off campus, or more specifically on a coach journey to the European Parliament. The motley crew of language lecturers and their students from Milan are going to the parliament to protest about the treatment of non-habilitated lecturers. Someone will be a hero, but who? The characters are all beautifully described, and the plot never slows down. If you've enjoyed books like "Changing Places by David Lodge or Malcolm Bradbury's "Dr Criminale", Europa is also bound to please.
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am 18. Mai 2000
Europa is a hodge-podge of philosophical musings, unlikely characters, uninteresting recollections, and un-noteworthy events that left me cold.
Jerry Marlow, a college professor, is the main protagonist who with his colleagues sets off on a long-distance bus trip to save their jobs by lobbying with a group of European bureaucrats. He has no interest in doing this, but does so because his French ex-girlfriend is along as well. She's a character that we never manage to like, therefore the reader never wishes that the two should get back together.
In fact, the reader never manages to like Jerry; his philosophical pondering comes across more like pretentious self-important whining. The only other character of note is a Welsh speaking Indian born and bread in Wales, a character so unlikely and outlandish that the reader never quite buys the concept.
There are some interesting points in the book, and more than one passage that made me laugh. But in the end, one gets the feeling the author is more interested in impressing the reader with his sophistication and cultural breadth than telling a readable story or developing interesting characters
Looking for a novel about a man seeking love lost amidst a colorful political backdrop? Try Ronan Bennett's expertly written "The Catastrophist".
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am 30. Oktober 1999
In addition to all of the (positive) things said in the other reviews posted here, what struck me about this novel was that it was about a man who moves from being alienated (a man who only falls for "foreign" women, a man alienated most of all, from a mileu that celebrates, PC-wise, "difference" and "the other")--to...something else. The point being that he IS moved to something. I was afraid the book would end with one of those winky winky ironic, desolate flourishes--it does not. These are large, relevant themes--alienation, relativism, personal (and national) morality--and in the end, this book and this author is on the side of meaning, as so many post-modern, ironic novels are not. When everyone is "other," when every action can be rationalized as valid within the framework of an irrefutable (because unjudgeable), private morality, there is no meaning. When only words, or the way that we SAY things happen, our PERSONAL (or national) interpretations count, rather than what we have actually done, there is no meaning. No real connection or communication between every "other" (individuals, nations.) Interestingly, one human response to that (on the main character's, Jerry's part) is violence--he will MAKE something happen, make his actions mean something, even if it isn't the meaning he wanted, SOME meaning is better than none--which has got to be the only reason there is for random, apparently senseless violence. Besides all of this (ie, that it seems to me a thoughtful, philosophical but not pretentious, relevant, redemptive novel), Parks' writing is gorgeous, his characters human and familiar.
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am 23. August 1998
The most noticeable thing about this book, both during the reading and afterwards, will inevitably be the style in which it is written. That fact alone will deter some readers, for style should not necessarily be the most conspicuous attribute. In fact, through much of the beginning of this book, Mr. Parks seems to be forcing the issue of style somewhat, through the repetitive use of a simple phrase setting the location, which accumulates an additional clause with each repetition (along the lines of 'sitting here in the back row ... sitting here one seat off the center of the back row of the coach ... sitting here one seat off the center of the back row of the coach on the highway leaving Milan'). These progressive sentences are too prominent in the beginning to appear natural, as compared to the middle and later stages of the book which forego that particular trait. Perhaps those early instances are intended to be the outgrowths of what is still in the beginning of the story a more contemplative, observing and uninvolved narrator. As the story progresses, however, it becomes much more free-flowing, centered on the thoughts of this man as he listens to, participates in, and remembers various conversations and events. It is a marvelous representation of the true ramblings of the human mind, often racing down separate and incongruous roads at the very same moment. The facility and genuine nature with which Mr. Parks captures that state of thought in disarray makes it even more sad that the earlier stylistic points were not less obtrusive.
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am 10. Februar 1999
This is one of the most enjoyable of the, say, one hundred novels I've read which were initially published during the last five years. It is a homage to the Thomas Bernhard masterpiece "The Woodcutters" about a similarly dyspeptic, very humorous, and also largely seat-bound intellectual. I've never written an on-line review before but was inspired to do so after coming upon an excerpt from the so obviously ill-read David Gates' NYTimes Review. There is absolutely no chance that Gates, music critic manque of particularly diminutive talent, will ever write a book this good. Preston Falls, his latest, could have been written by an adolescent ape with at a second tier MFA program provided said simian was given access to Time magazine. Europa's the real thing, Parks' best by far.
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am 6. Juli 1998
I picked up this book during my own tour of Europa. I was in a Prague bookshop, starving for some English-language fiction. Seeing this appropriately titled piece, I grabbed it and read the first line (my preliminary test for all book purchases). I was hooked.
Parks' prose, in a stream-of-consciousness/James Joyce fashion, is addictive. He lets you inside his head -- thoughts often interrupt his conversations and each other -- and you don't want to get out. You'll laugh out loud over his obsessiveness over a colleague/ex-mistress and probably even relate to some of his twisted feelings.
Perfect for anyone who's driven themselves mad over suddenly unrequited (but not at all pristine) love.
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am 17. Juli 1999
Erudite musings on cultural matters are all very well in small doses, but a novel to my mind needs to show you something extraordinary if it's to be worthwhile. And that means some kind of surprise, something unexpected. This story ambles along quite amiably, and is written in a commendably plain, unassuming way. But as as story it never takes off. I guess good, original stories are just very hard to come by...
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am 7. September 1999
I see mixed reviews here, but I enjoyed it. It's a fascinating look at the human spirit; what breaks it and what makes it hold out for hope.
Jerry Marlow is like the rest of us: appropriately sad in light of his situation, but hopeful and full of desire just the same. I completely appreciate him for his ability to laugh at his own misery.
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am 12. April 1999
Despite sounding depressing from the plot summary, this is a surprisingly pleasant look inside the head of a man whose thoughts are probably familiar to most men. The character has some clever comments on both life and Europe and there is even what I considered to be a happy ending. Worth reading.
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