Schopenhauer's Telescope

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9781582432236: Schopenhauer's Telescope

Digging a grave during a European civil war, two men share their experiences and draw conclusions about why the history of civilization is inseparable from the history of mass violence. A first novel. 35,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Gerard Donovan was born in Ireland and has lived in Germany and New York. His award-winning poetry has been widely published. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and the University of Arkansas Writing Program, he teaches English at Southampton College of Long Island University, and lives in Calverton, New York. This is his first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

A self-reflexive commentary on war and violence, Donovan's first novel is sophisticated and innovative, though too caught up in toying with literary conventions. Two unnamed men in an unnamed, war-torn European town some time in the 20th century engage in philosophical dialogues on morality and human cruelty. One, an awkward loner-referred to as "the baker"-is digging a hole, while the other, an educated, overbearing man-referred to as "the teacher"-watches him. The men's philosophical ruminations circle around historical instances of evil-from the Mongol hordes to World War II-as well as the baker's secret past, which is somehow linked to recent events in the ravaged town. The war is conveyed through stylized imagery (in the background are brooding soldiers and a mass of people delivered in trucks) that could belong to any conflict of the last century. The baker's past, when revealed, stands the reader's assumptions on their head, but the energy of this climax-and of the novel as a whole-is diffused by Donovan's experimental hijinks, which involve excerpts of a screenplay about Genghis Khan, a fairy tale, and such digressions as an overly long anecdote about one of the baker's obnoxious former customers. Donovan lets this novel get away from him, but he is an inventive and thoughtful writer, and those who have the patience will appreciate his meditations on the specters haunting Europe and look forward to his next, hopefully more focused effort.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Donovan, Gerard
Published by Counterpoint (2003)
ISBN 10: 1582432236 ISBN 13: 9781582432236
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