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The Instructions (2010)

por Adam Levin

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
5772331,179 (3.97)28
Levin creates a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy. Expelled from multiple Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and backtalk, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity.… (mais)
  1. 10
    Infinite Jest por David Foster Wallace (hairball)
    hairball: If you liked Infinite Jest, you will like The Instructions, but even if you didn't like IJ, you should try it.
  2. 00
    Call It Sleep por Henry Roth (hairball)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is a good book, and long. It's certainly not conventional. I added it to my to-read list when it was new nearly a decade ago, and it came up on the wallace-l email list recently, with someone citing Levin in this book as someone working in a similar vein as Wallace. Well, he's no Wallace, but this is a heckuva book. It's hard to describe it, really. I didn't love every moment of it. Sometimes it drags a little, and about halfway through, Levin ramps up the characters' meta-thinking (meaning inward spiraling thinking about thinking) in a way that's familiar to and that resonates with me but that got a little tired as it kept being repeated. The book didn't connect with me emotionally or even intellectually on the whole, but it's still a neat book. It sometimes put me in mind of Barth's Giles Goat Boy. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
I'm told I don't want to finish this right now.
  CiaraCat | Jan 9, 2020 |
I'm not yet sure what to make of this, but it was at the very least wildly entertaining. (Levin even made me laugh with a list of names, which wouldn't usually work on me.) Many of the digressions and vignettes and little observations are funny or interesting or satisfying in their own right, without seeming shoehorned in. And I don't think the uncomfortable, violent parts were gratuitous; they were necessary to jolt us out of the complacency Gurion had somehow lulled us into, despite heavy foreshadowing right from the beginning, and the darker tone signalled by the very first conversation of part two (Gurion's startlingly cold domination of Sandy).

I've read and enjoyed some of the reviews here, and I hope to write one myself eventually, but for now I'll start with some lingering questions.

June: as someone else noted, I don't think we ever really get to know her. Is this simply because Gurion, for all his intelligence and passion, doesn't really need her to be a whole person? In reality is she ultimately just a victim, as Jelly's email suggests? It sounds like she's desperately trying to double down on her faith in Gurion, because the alternative -- that she's just a murderer who fell under the sway of a fanatic -- is unbearable. (Which reminds me of Gurion's earlier line to her, to the effect that she wanted to prove herself crazy because that would allow her to disbelieve what she knew about the world. Is this the mirror image of that?) And what went on inside her, and between them, when she threatened to leave if Gurion returned to the gym, only to be back at his side in the next scene?

Slokum: why does he fade out so anti-climactically, having been set up as a larger-than-life, supervillain-like antagonist? To Gurion, he seemed to represent the temptation to abandon principle and faith, and sink into nihilistic sociopathy (as opposed to the fanatical, idiosyncratically scrupulous sociopathy that is more Gurion's style). Gurion must have set him up this way for a reason, so presumably there is meaning in Slokum's final confrontation with Benji, and even in the fact that he disappeared from the book at that point. (Does the contrast between 'Slokum dies Friday' being settled with non-fatal violence, and the deaths that happen around this confrontation, say something about the difference between Benji (and even Slokum, for all his self-presentation as a bottomless pit??) and Gurion? For Benji, talk of 'dead kids' and threats to kill were mostly the usual childhood stuff, albeit from an unusually violent child, whereas others under Gurion's influence have the fanatical emptiness to follow through?) Certainly Slokum was a device to create tension between Gurion and Benji, and by making a decisive break from his detente with Slokum, Benji sacrificed his own principles in order to make what seemed at the time like a decisive signal of loyalty to Gurion. But is there symbolism in the way Slokum's story ends, or is it just a thing that happened?

Mookus: despite always being on the fringes, he seems to fade further into the background, even during the weird setpiece of his soundtracking the violence in the gym. What is the significance of his late shift away from prophetic rambling insanity toward normal speech? Was he ever more than an excuse for Gurion and his friends to feel righteous while doing violence? ( )
  matt_ar | Dec 6, 2019 |
Taught, near flawless scripture. An extraordinary example of how big four days in middle-school can be. Full of love, humor, and surprising violence this is the finest first novel I've read in recent memory. Extra points for slang and Judaica (see also [b:The Yiddish Policemen's Union|16703|The Yiddish Policemen's Union|Michael Chabon|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1178032098s/16703.jpg|95855]). Worth it for the victory fists on page 28. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
Perhaps it is winter, but I've found myself brooding on the roulette of contemporary literature: for every Zone or Wolf Hall, well, there's always Franzen's Freedom. A honest albeit flawed effort like The Imperfectionists can convey you only so far. I noted elsewhere that this is the season of Balzac for me personally. Thus qualified, I am so glad I picked up this book today at the library.

Having finished the novel ten minutes ago. There is a hazard in any ranking system; and yet, despite some puzzling distractions in the last 100 pages including a submersion into brutality, I have to regard the tome as nothing short of amazing. I like to lose myself in messianism. It appears so much simpler to possess such clarity. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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For my parents, Lanny and Atara Levin.
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Levin creates a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy. Expelled from multiple Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and backtalk, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity.

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