Read The Escape by Adam Thirlwell Online


Haffner is charming, morally suspect, sexually omnivorous, vain, possessed of more hair than is his natural right. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But when was Haffner ever really married? Or Jewish? When was he ever attached? There are so many stories of Haffner: but this, the most secret, is the greatest of them all....

Title : The Escape
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780224089111
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Escape Reviews

  • Matt
    2019-05-19 07:53

    This book blew my socks off from the first chapter, which I found mesmerizingly well-written, global or at least epochal in scope, funny and wise. It more or less had me from hello, and then spent a lot of the rest of the book letting me down more or less gently.The book opens and closes in some nameless central European country as protagonist Raphael Haffner tries to reclaim an estate owned by his departed wife's family before the second world war (before WW1?), in a land Haffner insists on knowing only as "Bohemia." The novel never fully resolves the question of the house, but this isn't Forster, after all-- the book is really interested in Haffner (and language) and his incredible sexual appetites, his confusion over what it means to be Jewish, and his status as a racounteur, including some of the great stories he has told.... Thirlwell has crafted an amazing character here, one that really is in the camp of a Roth character, but with a lot less vituperation than Roth would probably muster at this point in his life. Really, part of the charm of the book, at least for me, is how unlived in the character is, in the sense of not being a fully-developed character but instead a pose for Thirlwell to show off his humor, his pretty amazing writing chops, his invention, and his erudition, all of which are significant. This is one of those books where there isn't a paragraph, much less a page that goes by without making you slap your forehead and wish you'd written that.... It's a deeply impressive performance.Given my unreserved love for the book on those levels, it feels chary to not love it unreservedly. But for me, the ending, especially the last section, failed to satisfy. It almost seems like the least interesting way the book could have ended.... it's certainly in the realm of possible endings, and it's more or less prepared for by what comes before. But I wanted something more for Haffner, and which Thirlwell had found as solid a send-off as the set-up he created for himself.

  • Jasmine
    2019-05-05 09:12

    Last time I read Adam thirlwell I said a lot of nice things about him, those all still apply. For example, I compared him to milan kundera, then kundera must have found out cause he blurbed this book. This is adam growing up a bit from politics, it's more convoluted in the kundera way where your head hurts and you feel lost for like 6 chapters but eventually the book works itself out and all starts to make sense. It feels like there are so many details that you can't remember but they all seem important. It's a generally hard book to read.*When I was reading it at first I worried that I've gotten stupider with my recent lack of taste as some coworkers call it, but then I remembered most books like this I felt this way about even when I only read pretentious books. I mean I remember reading the introduction to the unbearable lightness of being like 6 times till someone told me to just read the rest of the book and not worry about understanding all of it. I've read the first chapter of finnegans wake an embarassing number of times at least 4 or 5 of which were one right after the other. It's not that I don't follow completely cause I've gotten stupider, I've just always been this stupid. This was one of those books for me. I think the book is really reminiscent of kundera's agnes specifically and irvin yalom. It's about a fight to become which occurs at the same point as a fight against inevitable erasure. (view spoiler)[and the trajectory in this book becomes very strange because for haffner identity has become wrapped up in love, but specifically in unrequited love and his position as the unknown victim of unrequited love.(hide spoiler)]. It's a book about who we are and who we someday may be. (view spoiler)[ there is some kinky may-december (or January-December really)sex, so if that's a no go. DON'T GO! (hide spoiler)]*it is one of those books with historical/philosophical contextual interludes, character projections, author opinions, ect.

  • Mimi
    2019-05-22 09:17

    an odd but extraordinarily well-written book about a man who has spent his life pursuing women and can't turn it off even though, especially now inhis 70's, his charms/appetites cause chaos and problems, and also because some time ago he realized that he only really loved his ex/now dead wife. There are many little surprises during his adventures in trying to get his wife's family property back after wars and other government takeovers.

  • Herlo
    2019-05-08 02:11

    Excellent, well constructed literary thenatics

  • Russio
    2019-05-09 02:17

    Adam Thirlwell famously loves Milan Kundera and, according to the dust jacket of The Escape, Kundera loves him back. They are very similar in many ways. Most significantly that both write novels of ideas, where aspects of the human condition are put under the microscope, with characters the agents in the argument as well as the drivers of the action. Through careful organisation, a complex subject is tackled from many angles and illuminated by them. In Haffner, Thirlwell's central character we have a non-practising Jew seeking some kind of escape through extra-marital affairs and sexual encounters and also through sublime escapes into music. This is underscored by a storyline of him attempting to rea-appropriate his wife's family villa, which had been annexed by the state following the second world war. So, lots of escapes then, and a conclusion that reveals much about man's pursuit of escape, need for sanctuary and ultimate inability to do so.Sounds great, eh? And it isn't bad. But where Kundera deserts his characters for pure essay, in a bold stylistic move akin to Diderot or even Tolstoy, Thirlwell takes a more integrated, subtle line. Now, while I am all for subtlety, part of the absolute charm of Kundera is his audacity in dumping characters. His plots can be dissolved or shelved almost at whim, meaning you never forget his metafictive hand in what he is trying to achieve. Even when his characters get in to extreme dramatic or comic situations, you are aware of this lack of authorial distance, but cannot shake the excitement. The Escape does not complete the vault-face it would like to, as you settle fairly instantly into the "I am writing in the style of Kundera" routine and the plot, for the most part, despite clear orchestration to the contrary, fails to grip or excite.If Milan Kundera had written Augie March, he would have come up with something like this. But not this.Despite that, Thirlwell is a developing writer with oodles of talent. I love his inspirations but would prefer him to find a voice that is a little more him and less Kundera. I would rather read something like this than a book without ambition, and this is a great step forward from Politics, his previous novel. There are some lines that will stay with you long after, as well as some set-ups of the argument, if not set pieces of action.

  • Robert Wechsler
    2019-04-24 08:10

    An excellent novel by a fine writer. It’s astonishing how successfully he draws out a story about an old Jewish lecher and his relationships with his deceased wife, his living son, and a young Balkan woman who works in his hotel. I don’t know how he does it, and I don’t know how many people would be able to get through it, but I found it just as captivating as the best of Roth, and in similar ways. But actually, Thirlwell’s not that similar a writer, despite the subject matter. This is not an old man’s book, despite its subject, and it was gutsy of Thirlwell to try (was it to show Roth it could be done without any autobiography, or games?). Thirlwell’s games are all literary, not postmodern or extraliterary.

  • Ivan
    2019-05-11 08:09

    -- You finished? He asked Benjamin. You full?-- I don't finish when I feel full, said Benjamin proudly. What kind of person finishes when they're full? Me, I finish when I hate myself. That's the treasured moment. (229)Incisive portrait of the twilight years of a WWII-generation libertine and his grandson, with exploration of the escape theme on several levels: escape from war, marriage, convention. Crackling dialogue, very funny. Complex structure with interspersed flashbacks, frame narrator, skillfully done.

  • Chalky
    2019-05-15 03:51

    I'm not a speed reader but I generally like to read my books at a reasonable pace if not a gallop.Just a few pages into this one and I can tell it will take me much longer than the norm. Each sentence is prose poetry, each paragraph an immersion into sticky treacle, thick, delicious but not easy to digest in a hurry. But why hurry anyway?

  • Robert Pereno due
    2019-04-30 09:07

    Something very old fashioned about this book. Very well written by obviously a very bright chap. Struggled in parts but once I surrendered to the authors voice I got it and really enjoyed the ride. Cant say I loved it but will press the LIKE button.

  • Federico Ronchetti
    2019-05-05 09:19

    rimuovendo la parola "Haffner " dal testo si sarebbero potute risparmiare un centinaio di pagine

  • Emna
    2019-05-07 04:52

    Buying this book was obviously a mistake..Its readying is completely uninteresting..