The celibacy of Felix Greenspan: A novel in 18 stories

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9780620022835: The celibacy of Felix Greenspan: A novel in 18 stories
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From Kirkus Reviews:

Rites-of-passage fiction with a difference, from poet and literary journalist Abrahams, who, like his protagonist, was born with cerebral palsy and is a Jewish South African. Consisting of 17 stories that often overlap, the novel is a low-key and rather flat record of Felix Greenspan's struggle to live a full physical and intellectual life. It begins with a hospital stay for four-year-old Felix, the only son of a middle- class family with few cultural interests, and ends as the now 38- year-old Felix is on the brink of a liberating sexual experience. Focusing more on the personal than on the political struggle, apartheid and South African politics are--not unexpectedly--muted presences, mere bit-players in some stories. Felix's childhood is spent in a home for the disabled, where he's bullied by the older boys, falls in love, and after varying treatments is finally able to walk rather than move round on his knees. A first tram-ride to town on his own means that ``giddily triumphant, he was making contact with real life on his own, a stranger among strangers.'' After a few bureaucratic setbacks and an encouraging encounter with an older writer, Felix makes his way to college, which, though filled with beautiful girls, is intellectually disappointing. He drops out, and continues to write while working for his father, but the focus of the remaining pieces is his struggle for sexual autonomy. He makes love to a former classmate, who soon leaves; and prostitutes--he visits Paris in his 20's--are inadequate substitutes. But when his relationship with a suicidal artist ends, he's cheered by a promising correspondence with a woman--the first who's wanted ``to have a really close communication'' with him. For all his suffering and pluck, Felix remains a shadowy and remote figure living out an idea, not a life. A disappointing debut. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

South African poet Abrahams's lyrical coming-of-age novel beautifully evokes the fears, traumas, first loves and wild hopes of growing up. Felix Greenspan courageously overcomes childhood paralysis and copes with epileptic fits while parrying the anti-Semitic taunts of cruel classmates. One of them, a bully named Willem Prinsloo, admires Hitler, whose reign is contemporary with Felix's childhood. Told in 17 interlocking stories, the narrative follows Felix into his 30s, exploring his growth as a writer and his undaunted search for sexual and emotional fulfillment despite a long series of rejections. Skipper Ross, Felix's mentor, imbues him with a philosophy of positive thinking and self-mastery that helps him find direction. But Felix, a spastic, is sexually frustrated and seeks release in frequent visits to brothels. Eventually, he invites a black prostitute back to his parents' home in suburban Johannesburg, a taboo-violating act that risks bringing disgrace down on his family. Felix's doomed romance with delicate, tormented painter Lucilla Maxwell crowns this memorable, sensitive study of spiritual and personal growth.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780897333962: The Celibacy of Felix Greenspan: A Novel in Seventeen Stories

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0897333969 ISBN 13:  9780897333962
Publisher: Academy Chicago Pub, 1993
Hardcover

9780868520995: The Celibacy of Felix Greenspan

Ad Don..., 1977
Softcover

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Book Description Bateleur Press, Johannesburg, 1978. Condition: Very Good. Second printing. Trade paperback. Some loss of the spine head, wrappers moderately worn, else very good. Advance Review Copy with publisher's slip tipped in. A novel in 18 stories. Seller Inventory # 388876

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