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Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

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Offline B J Burton Reading Complete Works of H P Lovecraft
13 Feb 2013, 08:33 AM | Post: #21

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RE: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

(13 Feb 2013 07:16 AM)Dorte Hummelshoj Wrote:  
(12 Feb 2013 09:41 PM)B J Burton Wrote:  
(12 Feb 2013 09:37 PM)Dorte Hummelshoj Wrote:  Well, if Amazon allows resale of Kindle books, one of you can sell me yours for 10 p. Now I know I'm NOT going to fork out $ 10 for it.

Any idea how we do it?

Nah.... and if you can't, I may be able to survive without it Wink

If Amazon's systems don't allow you to buy it 'new' for 20p, I'd be Amazed if you can buy it 'secondhand' for 10. Nevermind, Dorte, the world is full of books.
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Offline Cathy Reading travels in Elysium by William Azuski
13 Feb 2013, 09:28 AM | Post: #22

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

I've been reading this for a couple of days after getting it for 20p because of the quirky title. I didn't expect it to start off so literally and I thought his 'escape' was hilarious. Started off really well; now about 30% in to it and its starting to drag. Not giving up yet though.

Cathy
Offline sujay Reading The Glass Guardian by Linda Gillard
13 Feb 2013, 10:34 AM | Post: #23

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

I am so glad everyone else is finding the same as I did. I started it full of enthusiasm, but by the time I got about 30% through the book, I found it very repetitive. I was determined to get to the end and ploughed through Allan meeting most world leaders from the 20th century and no end of unbelievable events. When I finally reached the end I couldn't believe the outcome, Spoiler. I am so glad I only paid 20 pence for this book, any more and I would have wasted my money.

Some people have loved it, and I totally accept that, but for me it was a definite no no. The only reason I stuck with it was because it was this months bookclub choice, otherwise I would have given up after the first 20%. Sad
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Offline alexroddie Reading The Terror by Dan Simmons
13 Feb 2013, 11:14 AM | Post: #24

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

(13 Feb 2013 10:34 AM)sujay Wrote:  I am so glad everyone else is finding the same as I did. I started it full of enthusiasm, but by the time I got about 30% through the book, I found it very repetitive. I was determined to get to the end and ploughed through Allan meeting most world leaders from the 20th century and no end of unbelievable events. When I finally reached the end I couldn't believe the outcome, it was so far fetched it wasn't true. I am so glad I only paid 20 pence for this book, any more and I would have wasted my money.

Some people have loved it, and I totally accept that, but for me it was a definite no no. The only reason I stuck with it was because it was this months bookclub choice, otherwise I would have given up after the first 20%. Sad

I'm glad I didn't persevere then, because I was starting to get a sense of implausibility as well. It's very rare that I fail to finish a book.

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

Wow lots of comments already, and it seems this really is a true Marmite book.

The first 5% or so got of really well, but then it just got more and more far fetched and just plain ludicrous. Stories like this can work, but they need to be at least a little believable so we as readers, can empathize.

I found this read very hard going, with all the flashbacks and skipping between characters meant it took a lot a concentration to know who, what or when we were reading about. But since I'm stubborn I did finish a week or so ago did it have a good ending ? Spoiler

Liza
Offline joo Reading Off The KUF Vol I
13 Feb 2013, 12:32 PM | Post: #26

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

I don't think I've got to 50%, yet and I will read until the end as I'm enjoying it in the main, however I do feel that it's a bad translation. The writing is a bit jerky and sometimes there are sentences doubled up, like "it wouldn’t improve his mood, he was sure. He was sure it wouldn’t improve his mood." (location 844)
I do see the Forest Gumpness of it and am accepting the ludicrousness of it.

I know it says spoilers here, but since a lot of people have given up (for now?) and some have only just found out about it being book club choice and some are still going through, and someone mentioned the outcome being so far fetched, can you spoiler that bit for a bit? The rest is fair game.
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Offline Notoriety Reading Five Days in May by Andrew Adonis
13 Feb 2013, 03:47 PM | Post: #27

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

This post was last modified: 13 Feb 2013 03:49 PM by Notoriety.
I quite enjoyed this book - though I thought a little repetitive and therefore long. I think only approaching it literally is going to take the reader into a blind alley. It has a distinct magical realist feel to it - think Salman Rushdie and the airplane explosion and the narrator's thoughts as he falls from the sky at the beginning of The Satanic Verses. Allan, the hero, wishes to avoid the razzmatazz of his 100th birthday bash and so legs it out of the window - not that likely but strikes a chord with us that probably gets most readers on board from page 1. The interweaving of historical fact and imaginative fiction is not new - for example passages in Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers. The reader needs to suspend disbelief and be able to play with the story and its credibility. The ingenuity of the author is in creating multiple situations in which the "little guy" is able to triumph both in the past and the present. If, of course, they happened.

In my Amazon review I describe the book as a "sort of anti-Candide", where all is indeed for the best in a rather unpleasant world not in the theistic sense described by Leibniz who Voltaire was attacking in his book. Indeed there is a central message about the uselessness of religion and politics and the latter is repeatedly viewed as likely to be both corrupt and dangerous. Allan approaches the world with the view that "Things are what they are and whatever will be will be." A sort of emotional insulation from the trials of life - which we can make of as we will.

I actually thought this was an outstanding translation - though having just read Is that a Fish in Your Ear by David Bellos on that very subject judgement should be reserved by all except those also fluent in the original language (i.e. not me!). Bellos discusses the question of what is a "good translation" and why at great length. He makes the point strongly that humour is exceptionally difficult to translate because it often depends on either a particular social context and/or its immediate verbal context. I thought the low key dry one-liner laughs in the book were triffic!

Tony
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Offline Nick Wastnage Reading The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee
13 Feb 2013, 10:12 PM | Post: #28

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

It seems I'm the exception. I read this right through in one sitting – be it on a long, boring plane journey – and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read a lot of crime fiction, so this was a complete change. Yes, it's far-fetched, but that's the point. I looked at it it with an open mind, and found many parts of it hilarious. The author states he wanted to write a feel-good book and that is what he did. Once I realised that it was a bit of a send-up, I just didn't take it seriously and enjoyed the far-fetchedness of it. The translation was excellent, better than many others I've read. If you've started it, see it through.
Offline B J Burton Reading Complete Works of H P Lovecraft
14 Feb 2013, 09:14 PM | Post: #29

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

I thought it started out well with a nice line in quirky humour with a Spike Milligan flavour about it. If it put me in mind of any other book it was 'Alice in Wonderland'. Alice has been replaced by Allan, a gentle man who wants nothing more than a supply of vodka and the freedom to drink it in peace. In this fantasy the Mad Hatter and his fellow Wonderland residents have been replaced by friendless police officers, clueless criminals, corrupt politicians and brilliant physicists who can't spot the simple solutions.
My problem with the book is that it is over-long, plods along at a snail's pace and becomes totally predictable. As each international incident is resolved the author parks Allan somewhere, whether that be sitting on a beach or in a labour camp, until the next incident is due and up he pops again. The humour wasn't strong enough to support it.
I agree with Joo. At times the writing seemed to stagger off course and I couldn't help suspecting that it could be down to the translation.
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Offline Susanne Reading The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson
15 Feb 2013, 09:08 AM | Post: #30

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Hundred Year Old Man Who ... (contains spoilers)

I got to about 25% and then decided that life is too short to read a book I'm not particularly enjoying. Yes, the translation is strange, it seems to me as if it is translated literally and I can see how it might work in the Swedish (I can pretty well translate it directly back) and recognise certain ways of phrasing.

I enjoyed the beginning and thought it might just work. Alan is a great character - or could have been - but it reads too much like an amateurish attempt.

Someone mentioned it is a marmite book and it certainly seems that way. I'm surprised it's got so high in the charts, but perhaps the 20p pricetag helps - and the hype! Emperor's New Clothes springs to mind!
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