- Taschenbuch: 368 Seiten
- Verlag: Harper Perennial; Auflage: Reprint (7. August 2007)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 006118943X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061189432
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,5 x 2,1 x 20,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 173.483 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Zero: A Novel (P.S.) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. August 2007
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“A ridiculously talented writer.” (New York Times)
“This is political satire at its best: scathing, funny, dark. Grade: A.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A brilliant tour–de–force that’s as heartrending as it is harrowing…the breakout novel of a brave and talented young writer.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Perceptive, ingenious satire…fascinating and important” (BookPage)
“Aa satire/tragedy that Franz Kafka and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. might appreciate.” (USA Today)
“Exquisitely written . . . Like a paranoid Being There, The Zero is suspenseful, satisfying and unforgettable.” (“Galley Talk” Publishers Weekly)
Praise for Citizen Vince:“Citizen Vince is fast, tough, thoughtful and funny. I loved this novel.” (Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity and A Long Way Down)
Praise for Citizen Vince:“Wonderfully written… compelling.” (Los Angeles Times)
Praise for Citizen Vince:“Entertaining… refreshing… [with] very wry precision and expert timing.” (New York Times)
Praise for Land of the Blind:“Walter is at his incisive best. …hypnotically compelling.” (Publishers Weekly)
Praise for Land of the Blind:“Absorbing… Walter renders his blind land with clear-eyed, compassionate wisdom.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for Over Tumbled Graves:“Riveting… An outstanding mystery debut.” (Washington Post Book World)
Praise for Over Tumbled Graves:“Suspenseful, challenging and intelligently written.” (Dallas Morning News)
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, and Citizen Vince, the winner of the Edgar Award for best novel. His short fiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.
Nur allein mit diesem Trick würde das Buch aber nicht über die volle Länge fesseln (auch so wird der eine oder andere Gag etwas überstrapaziert). Was den Ausschlag für die fünf Sterne gibt, ist dass auch die Story wirklich gut ist und vor allem eine lesenswerte Aussage über die Paranoia und die Geheimdienstarbeit in den USA jenseits von 9/11 darstellt. Die Figuren sind zudem sehr glaubhaft mit ihren Ängsten und ihren Problemen das Geschehene zu verarbeiten. Wer auf ungewöhnliche und/oder politische Romane steht, sollte zugreifen!
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Remy can't figure out what's happening to him, and it's nearly impossible to what's real and what's not. Every time things he begins to understand what's going on, he blacks out; and so does the reader. This leads to what is possibly the most introspective novel written in the past ten years. THE ZERO will knock you off your feet. Walter's writing (in the tradition of Kafka) is precise, beautiful, destructive, and even mesmerizing. If this novel doesn't make it into the canon of great American literature, it'll be a crying shame.
THE ZERO: A NOVEL, however, is nowhere near as good as CITIZEN VINCE.
Why not? Let me list the reasons:
(1) THE ZERO has no coherent plot. Brian Remy is a heroic 9/11 cop who suffers frequent "gaps" in his memory after the terrorist attack. As a result, he drifts through the entire story of this novel without really understandng why he is doing what he's doing. This leads to a large number of disjointed scenes with almost no context provided. As a result, this novel has no narrative thread, which makes for a rather disorienting (and ultimately tedious) read. Put bluntly, this novel was very hard for me to finish.
(2) THE ZERO has no likable central character. Who is Remy? What is he doing? What are his motivations? Why is he torturing terror suspects and cheating on his girlfriend? The reader never knows, because Remy himself does not know, due to his frequent memory loss. As a result, the central character of this novel is remarkably vacuous and impossible to identify with. This book has a hollow center.
(3) THE ZERO has cartoonish supporting characters. Pretty much all the supporting characters in this novel are exaggerated stereotypes. We have embarssingly macho, stupid police characters. We have extremely cynical politicians and greedy businessmen. We have Remy's pseudo-intellectual son, who pretends that Remy died at 9/11. None of these characters is even remotely believable. All of the dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. I realize this is a satirical novel, but what happened to the brilliant three-dimesional characters of CITIZEN VINCE? They do not exist in THE ZERO, with the possible exception of the girlfriend character, the only likable person in the book.
(4) THE ZERO does not resolve anything. What is the point of this novel? The ending resolves little and is quite dissatisfying. Is Jess Walter condemning post 9/11 America? He makes fun of "First Responder" breakfast cereal, but is there any real life example of such crass commercialization of 9/11? Sure, people are greedy and materialistic, but what does that have to do with 9/11? The message of this book is muddled, and I don't want to buy "Cliff's Notes" to decipher what Walter is trying to communicate.
This book isn't all bad. The prose is well crafted, and Walter does a very effective job of describing the devasation at Ground Zero. There are some decently written scenes in this book, but they just don't add up to a good story.
In short, a major disappointment from a great writer. This is the type of novel that will impress critics more than readers. I hope the next book is better.
So the story revolves around the fact that he's in a constant struggle to figure out what he's up to -- helping a government agency infiltrate a terrorist cell? tracking down a woman who may or may not have died in the attacks? -- and we're as much in the dark as Good Remyis. "...and Remy found that he was smiling, not exactly remembering, but wanting to, and thinking there's not much difference, that the best memories might be those you don't remember."
Much, much more than just a study of a fascinating character, though, Jess Walter's novel The Zero looks at the absurdity of the culture and paranoia in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and how frequently the focus was removed from the victims and their families -- for selfish gain, for politics, or for any other reason. Remy's affable partner Paul explains, even though he knows he shouldn't mention it, how awesome it is that 9/11 happened because he is treated as a hero and gets to show celebrities around Ground Zero. Paul even gets to appear on a box of cereal -- "My agent says I was lucky to get the marshmallows," he tells Remy.
Remy and his struggle with his fractured memory are really a symbol of the underlying post-9/11 fractured culture (even though 9/11 appeared on the surface to be a unifying event). "Maybe this was not some condition he had, but a life, and maybe every life is lived moment to moment. Doesn't everyone react to the world as it presents itself?"
Remy's enduring memory from the day -- described bone-chillingly in the opening paragraph -- is of paper, fluttering to the ground. And it's an image Walter returns to frequently. Example: "He remembered smoke and he remembered standing alone while a billion sheets of paper fluttered to the ground. Like notes without bottles on the ocean, a billion pleas and wishes sent out on the wind."
But for all that seriousness, the novel's often cleverly and subtly funny. At one point, Remy writes himself a note that says "Don't hurt anybody." But then bad self responds, "Grow up." A scene near the beginning of the novel in which Walter has Remy's son Edgar explain why he's telling people Remy's dead is, in a word, genius. And other details are so sad they're funny -- like lawyers for 9/11 victims' families charging an increased fee in the settlement negotiations with the government, because "these are difficult cases...emotionally" for the lawyers.
I loved this novel -- for its imagery, its comedy (and ability to toe the line between funny and appropriately respectful), and its inventiveness. It's alternately chill-inducing and laugh-out-loud funny. And it's only when you get to the end, that you realize just how smart and well-put-together this novel is. Highly, highly recommended!
(The Zero was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, the year Richard Powers' The Echo Maker won. I've read that book. It's solid, but this MUCH better.)