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am 24. April 2014
Ein ganz normaler Montag in London.
Herr Phillips geht heute nicht in die Arbeit. Er lässt sich durch London treiben und erlebt die Stadt plötzlich ganz anders als in den letzten 30 Jahren, die er täglich ins Büro gegangen ist. Das Buch ist alles in einem. Kurzweilig, heiter, nachdenklich und zugleich fordernd. Der Leser folgt Herrn Phillips durch diverse, oft groteske Szenen des Stadtlebens. Wer London kennt wird diesen Stadtbummel lieben. Auf seinem Weg durch die Straßen versteigt sich Mr. Phillips in teils grotesken Gedankenpyramiden und Zahlenspiele. Vieles in der Gedankenwelt des über 50jährigen dreht sich um Sex. Sein Kopf ist voller sexistischer Gedanken, die ihn auf seinem Trip durch die Stadt dauern einholen. Es ist ein Trip der nicht ergriffenen Chancen im Leben und ein Blick ganz tief hinter die Fassade des steifen, stets korrekten Briten. (Jetzt wissen wir endlich was hinter dieser Fassade so alles Gedacht wird ;-)).
250 Seiten für zwischendurch - allerdings ist das Englisch im Buch ziemlich fordernd. Viele Ausdrücke finden sich nicht im Wörterbuch. Auch sinniert Herr Phillips über den einen oder anderen (oft flachen und derben) Witz, der sich vermutlich nur einem Londoner oder zumindest britischen Muttersprachler erschließt voll erschließt.
4 Sterne für die außergewöhnliche Stadttour!
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am 2. Februar 2014
Unterhaltsam, aufregend aber nachvollziehbar. Kunststück, einen einzigen Tag in ein ganzes Buch zu verarbeiten, dabei ohne Längen. Mr Philips ist ein ganz normaler Mann, dessen Leben plötzlich aus den Angeln gehoben wird, und ihm plötzlich die Augen für die täglichen Abenteuer öffnet.
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am 28. Juni 2015
Wer derben Humor und exakte Beobachtungen seiner Mitmenschen schätzt und schon mal in London war, ist hier bestens bedient. Ein Tagtraum, ein deftiges Märchen; ich konnte nicht aufhören zu lesen und zu lachen bzw.schmunzeln.
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am 12. Mai 2000
Let me start off by saying that I thought "The Debt To Pleasure" was a very fine book. Unfortunately, no such luck with Mr. Lanchester's second effort. I think the author wanted to have his cake and to eat it too. He was attempting to write a serious book but he was also looking at the market and trying to make sure he was writing something that would sell. He throws in way too much sex. I imagine that Mr. Lanchester would reply that he is just holding up a mirror to our society as he uses "Mr. Phillips" to show our obsession with all things sexual. There is a fine line between trying to make a point and pandering and I think the author has crossed way over onto the pandering side of the line. Even putting aside this criticism, I have other problems with this book. The targets that Mr. Lanchester takes on are just too easy to mock. It is like shooting ducks in a barrel. I have already mentioned sexual obsession as one target. The author also takes on religion; alienation in the crowded and hurried life of the big city; the corporate world; the banality of modern music; and the "pearls before swine" critique of putting anything highbrow in front of "Joe Ordinary". I suppose that Mr. Lanchester's "big theme" is the unpredictability and randomness of life, exemplified by the protagonist's concern with order and statistics in a world where he has gone from 25 years of job security to being made "redundant". To me, this main theme gives this book what value it does possess, but it is not enough to make the book a success, for I don't think Mr. Lanchester has made the right choices in his attempt to "flesh out" (if you'll pardon the expression) his theme. Having Mr. Phillips being present at a bank which just happens to be entered by armed robbers at the same time (and a lady television personality that Mr. Phillips is obsessed with also just happens to be present) does not show the elements of randomness or chance. It just smacks to me of being a contrived plot mechanism and does not ring true. And did we really need Mr. Phillips going to a porn shop, where we are given graphic descriptions of what he is looking at in the magazines or watching up on the screen when he decides to take in a porno flick? Sorry, Mr. Lanchester. Here's hoping you return to form in your next book.
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am 21. Juli 2000
MR. PHILLIPS is a recent inductee into my personal Pantheon of great modern literature. This is a terrific - indeed, incandescent - little book about a single day in the life of a very ordinary middle-class Englishman who has just lost his job and hasn't yet broken the news to his family. There's nothing, and yet everything to this seemingly inconsequential work. It reminds us, again, that even at its bleakest, life is more comedy than tragedy. As a writer, Lanchester is, in the English way, a precisionist. Most of his conceits are so economic, sharp, original and outrageous that you read the entire book (it can be done in a few hours) shivering with pleasure and wishing that you yourself were half as talented.
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am 13. April 2000
Mr. Phillips chronicles the first day of unemployment for aredundant accountant in London. No one knows he is out of work; hegets up and goes into town, as he normally would. The fortunate reader gets to occupy the imagination of this middle aged ex-accountant as he ponders on sex, family, city life, and death. John Lanchester 's writing is droll and at times will make you laugh out loud. But there is a deeper story in this novel which will move the reader to a feeling of satisfaction and delight at the end of Mr. Phillip's day. Mr. Phillips remains with the reader long after the last page is read. A well written and entertaining novel.
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am 13. Mai 2000
This book is thinner -- in subject matter, in prose, and in narrative substance -- than Debt to Pleasure, but it is engaging and funny nonetheless. I carried it with me to jury duty and caught myself laughing aloud several times. In a real sense, Mr Phillips is less a novel than a compendium of set pieces, witty observations, character sketches and jokes. There is, for example, an exchange between Mr Phillips and a publisher of pornography that seems straight out of Monty Python. Though his main themes are sex and death from the perspective of middle age, Lanchester maintains a light touch.
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am 15. Mai 2000
The concept of Mr Phillips is not really a new idea. As another reviewer pointed out, its very similar to Nicholson Baker's early work (i.e,the description of daily minutia that spirals into bigger themes). What makes Mr Phillips a winner is the humor - british and otherwise- that others of this genre didn't have. He's actually a grown up Holden Caufield hiding out in a big city without telling his family of recent events. What brings it all together is the author's easy writing style.
This is a light read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys good prose with a subtle bite.
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am 5. Juli 2000
Lanchester's A Debt to pleasure was one of the best first novels by an English writer in recent years. The central character was beguiling, witty, snobbish, urbane, and seemed to have fallen from the pages of a Nabokov novel.
Mr Phillips is not as satisfying, but it is still enjoyable. It is a day in the life of a man that has lost his job, but cannot face telling his family. He gets the train, he walks about, he stares at pretty girls, he thinks about sex, he stalks, (the humdrum normality of suburban English lives. Anyway, you get the idea)...
The prose is understated, and consciously mundane. In its own way the novel is as stylised as A Debt to pleasure.
From the mundanity Lanchester works (Sometimes too hard) at deriving humour. Sometimes, the humour is heavy handed, at other times - when it stems from the character's foibles - it works wonderfully. As the eponymous anti-hero has an accountancy background much of the humour stems from his obsession with numbers. For example, his consideration of sex is based around numbers, statistics, and percentages.
The mundanity does not work as well as in books such as The Diary of a nobody. However, Lanchester does make tedium fun. Despite the humour the central character is well drawn, with a human side (although Lanchester occasionally totters on the brink of mawkish senitmentality in relation to him).
Mr Phillips is an enjoyable book, and is easily read. It feels, though, as if this is an exercise by Lanchester in ventriloquism (reminding me in parts of the short stories of Candia McWilliam). Now that he has tried on a couple of voices, could the real John Lanchester step forward please. Because when he does, the signs are that he will produce something great.
People who like Martin Amis (his pre-dental work stage) should enjoy this.
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am 20. Juli 2000
I enjoyed this book immensely--but I have to admit a prejudice. In 1998, my family and I lived in south London for six months, in Wandsworth where much of the story takes place, in one of those south London neighborhoods that according to one guide book (I think it was the TIME OUT GUIDE TO LONDON) "are so obscure they don't even exist." We loved our six months there and Lanchester's book brought back so many memories. Some how he just has the feel and sense of London--not so much the London of the rich or the tourist but the "every day" London that we were so fortunate to live for six (and I think happily only six) months. I mean, for example, Lanchester's description of trains stopping is uncanny in its accuracy, humor, and insight. But if you haven't spent a lot of time riding the tube around London you might miss the whole point. Besides the quotidian, MR PHILLIPS contains a great deal of fantasy, which I also enjoyed. Perhaps the most telling aspect for me (also a fifty-something male--fortunately not yet quite redundant) was the mix of the mundane and the fantastic in the book. Are we to take the bank robbery, etc. as genuine events in the life of Mr Phillips or only his fantasy? This book is rich in questions, ideas, and insights without being difficult or overbearing. I recommend it.
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