- Taschenbuch: 368 Seiten
- Verlag: Black Swan; Auflage: New Ed (1. Oktober 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0552142409
- ISBN-13: 978-0552142403
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,8 x 2,3 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 6 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 353.914 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Night Listener (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 19. Juni 2007
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Many years ago, when the first volume of Tales of the City was going to press, Christopher Isherwood compared its author's narrative gifts to those of Charles Dickens. This has proven to be the blurb of a lifetime, an ever-renewable currency appearing on almost all of Armistead Maupin's subsequent books. Yet it has held up well--Dickens's gentle satire and broad good humor live on in Maupin more than in any other English-speaking writer. The Night Listener is his most ambitious work to date. While not strictly autobiographical, the story does teasingly suggest correspondences to the author's own life in a way that will delight and frustrate his many fans. The main character, Gabriel Noone, is a professional storyteller who broadcasts roughly autobiographical sketches for a long-running PBS series, "Noone at Night," stories about people "caught in the supreme joke of modern life who were forced to survive by making families of their friends." When the novel opens, Gabriel is still reeling from the announcement that his much younger, longtime partner Jess (a.k.a. Jamie in the "Noone at Night" stories, and a.k.a. Terry Anderson, Maupin's real-life, much-younger partner, for those who like to track associations) wants to move into his own apartment and start dating other men. With the success of his HIV cocktail, Jess has exceeded his own life expectancy. Having prepared himself so well to die, he now needs to learn how to live again. To Gabriel's distress, Jess's new life involves leather, multiple piercings, and books on men's drumming circles.
When an editor sends Gabriel yet another book to blurb, he reluctantly opens the package to find a long, rending memoir by Pete Lomax, an HIV-positive 13-year-old survivor of incest, rape, and sexual slavery. The book is called The Blacking Factory, after the miserable London bottling factory where Dickens spent part of his poverty-stricken childhood. As Gabriel reflects:
Pete thinks we all have a blacking factory, some awful moment, early on, when we surrender our childish hearts as surely as we lose our baby teeth. And the outcome can't be called. Some of us end up like Dickens; others like Jeffrey Dahmer. It's not a question of good or evil, Pete believes. Just the random brutality of the universe and our native ability to withstand it.After Pete escaped from his parents and was adopted by a therapist named Donna Lomax, his slow recovery was helped along by his memoir-writing and by frequent doses of "Noone at Night."
Touched by Pete's devotion to his stories, as well as the boy's obvious need for a father figure, Gabriel finds himself drawn into an intense relationship with his young fan, involving long, late-night phone calls that begin to worry Gabriel's friends. And, other than their mutual need, how much does he really know about Pete, anyway? As Gabriel begins to question his own motives, as well as those of the boy, The Night Listener transforms itself from an absorbing but quotidian story of loss and midlife angst into a dark and suspenseful page-turner with a playful metaphysical aspect and an un-Dickensian sexual candor. --Regina Marler -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
"'A tremendous, hugely satisfying read'" (Time Out)
"'Absorbing, sophisticated, funny and touching'" (The Sunday Times)
"'Elegantly conceived and executed, The Night Listener marks a long overdue return to fiction by one of America's best-loved writers...a real page-turner'" (Sunday Telegraph)
"'His most mature, mellow and moving novel yet'" (Independent)
"'A mystery studded with elegant twists and turns'" (The New York Times Book Review)
Jess, his lover, has moved out and has provided no explanation for his desertion. Noone misses him desperately, and is ever hopeful that his partner will return. Since Jess features so much in Noone's fiction (under a somewhat shallow disguise), this contributes to Noone's pain about his writing. And then Pete Lomax's galley proof arrives. Noone is resistant to read it at first, since he's well used to editors pleading for his endorsement of celebrity cookbooks. However, Pete Lomax's narrative is far weightier, because it is a tale of unpalatable suffering. Noone's emotional anguish seems trivial in comparison with this boy's pain. Noone is more than a little flattered also that his radio shows are mentioned with great admiration in Pete's book, and it's clear that the boy regards Noone as some kind of hero. So Noone contacts Pete's editor to give his endorsement, and is sucked into Pete Lomax's world.
It's not long before Gabriel and Pete are exchanging involved phone calls, supervised by Donna Lomax, the psychiatrist who adopted Pete. Pete asks if he can call Gabriel 'Dad', something that Noone readily agrees to. Noone's somewhat detached father visits town, and Gabriel is reminded of his mother, and the mysterious death of his grandfather, (also named Gabriel like he and his father). Gabriel never thought he would have someone who he could call 'son', and yet he's now embracing this young boy metaphorically over the phone. Pete seems even more poignant now that he is dying. Naturally enough, Noone turns for advice to Jess, who's thriving despite his illness due to a cocktail of drugs. Jess readily agrees to talk to Pete about treatment. However, the more Noone becomes attached to Pete, the more suspicious his friends become about the boy. So doubtful are they that even Gabriel begins to asks questions, which lead to a catastrophic turn of events in his relationship with Pete. Overcome with guilt with what he has done, Noone sets out to prove that the disembodied voice at the other end of the phone really does exist.
According to Pete's narrative, he is solaced by Gabriel Noone's nightly shows. And it appears that Pete is more than prepared to play the role of listener on the phone. It almost seems as though it's Noone, with his broken heart, who needs comforting, rather than this poor sick boy. The plot of this novel twists and turns excellently, and constantly keeps you captivated over its three hundred and so pages. I think what's most attractive is the veracity of the text, and the honesty of Noone - he doesn't hesitate to reveal his petty betrayals. Maupin has created a protagonist who is very human in his selfish failings, and all the more likeable for that.
Those readers who like closure are going to be in for a frustrating time though, and a good thing too! At times, it seems very much as though Noone is Maupin. Jess at one point suggests that Noone gets over his block by writing about the emotional travails of the Pete Lomax situation, and you can't help but wonder if Maupin had a similar conversation, and experience himself. What if there really was a 'Pete Lomax' character out there? This is one of the loose threads that Maupin dangles before us at the end. Those who have read James Hogg's bewitching tale of multiple personality, 'Confessions of a Justified Sinner', will have become enamoured of this type of closure though. Besides, as Noone relates, what else would you expect of a narrator who cannot but help jewelling the elephant in his tales? For that lovely metaphor, and exquisite prose, Maupin's thrilling tale of detection gets full marks.
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