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The Captain's Fire

J. S. Marcus

4 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679401849 / ISBN 13: 9780679401841
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

1996, 1996 Stated First Edition, First Printing, Fine Book, Fine unclipped jacket, 324 clean tight unmarked deckled pages, book has black boards with 1/4 black cloth spine, silver and brown stamped lettering on the spine, jacket has a color illustration with black lettering. Bookseller Inventory # 003859

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Captain's Fire

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In a comic, disturbing, intense, coming-of age novel that takes readers from the suburbs of Milwaukee to the ruins of the old Prussian capital of Konigsberg--and introduces them to skinheads, drag queens, and international hustlers--Marcus chronicles the exploits of a young American Jew who, in an alarmingly Oblomovian fashion, is becoming physically larger and larger.

From Publishers Weekly:

This is one dense book. Marcus (The Art of Cartography, a story collection) filters every reportorial detail through the minutely calibrated sensibility of his narrator, Joel La Vine. Jewish, bisexual, lately impotent and lately pudgy, the 31-year-old American English teacher is hanging out in Berlin after the collapse of the wall and experiencing less than high times. If Christopher Isherwood rushes immediately to mind, forget about it: Joel's a camera, but he's also an encyclopedia, seemingly aware of even the most obscure cultural nuances, from habits of sausage eating to the details of Gustav Mahler's life. He's also up on whatever else a late-century postmodern flaneur might require to sort through a society in political disarray, victimized equally by its Nazi past and its increasingly pessimistic?and racist?present. Riffing on everything from Kant to Elvis Costello, old girlfriends and Brecht, and keeping one eye eternally focused on the legacy of Kafka (to whom Marcus owes the title), Joel unfurls elaborate, occasionally footnoted, disquisitions on the subject of Germany and the Jews. Gradually, the entire novel inhales the question of what it means for Joel to be a Jew and transforms it into the only thing that propels an otherwise lethargic story. By thinking about being Jewish, and about being Jewish in Germany, Joel begins to return to his own history, which features a pair of dying parents in Milwaukee and a record of sexual misadventures, along with a few tidbits of what might have been love and happiness. Marcus's writing will give many readers a pounding headache as he forsakes drama for discursiveness. It's a measure of his intelligence that he makes his method seem appropriate to his subject.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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