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Aberration of Starlight por Gilbert…
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Aberration of Starlight (edição 1981)

por Gilbert Sorrentino

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1673128,578 (3.86)5
Set at a boardinghouse in rural New Jersey in the summer of 1939, this novel revolves around four people who experience the comedies, torments and rare pleasures of family, romance and sex while on vacation from Brooklyn and the Depression. Billy Recco, an eager ten-year-old in search of a father... Marie Recco, nee McGrath, an attractive divorcee caught between her son and father, without a life of her own... John McGrath, dignified in manner yet brutally soured by life, insanely fearful of his daughter's restlessness... Tom Thebus, a rakish salesman who precipitates the conflict between Marie's hopes and her father's wrath. What emerges is a sure understanding of four people who are occasionally ridiculous, but whose integrity and good intentions are consistently, and tragically, frustrated. Combining humor and feeling, balancing the details and the rhythms of experience, Aberration of Starlight re-creates a time and a place as it captures the sadness and value of four lives. First published by Random House in 1980, it is widely considered one of Sorrentino's finest novels.… (mais)
Membro:AMP_Legacy_Library
Título:Aberration of Starlight
Autores:Gilbert Sorrentino
Informação:Penguin Books (1981), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 224 pages
Colecções:Dr. William M. Mahoney Legacy Library
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Aberration of Starlight por Gilbert Sorrentino

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Flashes of brilliance. A highly unpleasant reading experience, but nonetheless rewarding. My first step into Sorrentino's version of the world. It interested me enough that I know I will have to read his other novels. Aside from Mulligan Stew, they are relatively short, therefore his ceaseless experimentation is digestible.

The characters in this novel are mean-spirited, nasty, filthy, sloppy and above all, honest. The author splashes their naked thoughts on the page, unfiltered and unrestrained. I could have done without many of the repetitive, almost childish, expletives, but the language quickly establishes deep rhythms and will remain compulsively readable for most adventurous readers.

The heartbreaks and dalliances of the main players in this bawdy work are alternately sad, laughable, charming, and genuinely moving. Sorrentino captures voices expertly, whether he is composing in the guise of a naive child, a ranting lunatic, or a feverish woman. In any case, despite the excessive inanity and gruesome lasciviousness, it's mightily convincing. I got the sense that Sorrentino tuned directly into the thoughts of living people, channeling them without judgment, and I came to appreciate the fact that I am not a telepath in every day life. There is a reason we keep these thoughts inside. It is because no one wants to hear them. However, they reveal much about us, which our words and actions conceal.

Everyone interprets reality differently, and seeing the world through another's eyes is valuable. Likely, this book will take you out of your comfort zone, and leave you eager for more. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
Aberration of Starlight (1980) by Gilbert Sorrentino

The slim novel Aberration of Starlight by Gilbert Sorrentino traces the events one summer in 1939 through the perspectives of four different characters. The title is taken from an astrological phenomenon involving the movement of both the observer and the subject under observation. Right from the start, Sorrentino will upend the reader’s expectations. The four characters lives become revealed through various narrative techniques. These include letters, question-and-answer, and stream of consciousness.

The four main characters are Billy Recco, the son of Marie Recco. He idolizes Tom Thebus, a salesman wooing Marie, much to the chagrin of Marie’s father, John McGrath. Each character possesses a fault or a failure.

Billy suffers ridicule from classmates for being cross-eyed. Marie wants to rebuild her life following her divorce. She wants to give Billy a better life and not be dependent on her father. Unfortunately, Marie’s simple emotional and physical desires snarl themselves on her tainted status (a divorcee) and her religious obligations (to behave as a “good Catholic”). Her desires result in a messy assignation with Tom Thebus and her self-loathing projected in a variety of ethnic slurs. Instead of making Marie a sympathetic character, Sorrentino undercuts the reader’s empathy by having Marie spout hateful things against her ex-husband “the dago” and his “shanty Irish” mistress.

Tom Thebus represents an idealized version of a father to Billy, but Tom can’t stand Billy. Tom is a serial philanderer and sees Billy as a means to Marie, yet another conquest. John McGrath wants what is best for his daughter and has serious reservations about Tom’s courtship with Marie. Complicating matters, John is a widower and he remembers his departed wife as a castrating shrew. John was raised an Irish Episcopalian and his relatives thought marrying a Catholic was “below him.” On top of all this, John resents his wife for advising him against signing on to a business partnership.

The interrelations of these characters filter through a variety of postmodern narrative techniques. The novel begins with Billy Recco, focusing on a photograph. He imagines the life of his mother and Tom Thebus as a radio play, the exaggerated happiness and prosperity creating a broad comical stereotype of Depression-era dreams. Each section has a question-and-answer section. At a superficial level, it offers a clinical perspective on the events that unfold. In reality, it plays like a straight man in a vaudeville routine. The anemic questions elicit humorous answers. Letters from each character contrast with the question-and-answer, adding another layer of subjectivity. The final narration in each section is stream of consciousness, pulling the reader fully into the thoughts of the character.
Aberration of Starlight succeeds in two seemingly contradictory ways. It explores the lives of the characters on both archaeological and accumulative levels. Each technique peels back successive layers of the character’s psyche. At the same time, the reader accumulates the various interconnections of the characters after each section. In the first section, Billy sees his mother and Tom and his grandfather John in the broadest terms. By the time the reader reaches the last section, John McGrath’s thoughts and dreams reflect the accumulated details accrued from the other three characters. The novel succeeds because the postmodern narrative techniques actually enhance the reading experience, enriching the reader’s knowledge of the events that occurred that summer in 1939. The postmodernism on display here is not the stereotypical cleverer-than-thou trickery but an emotionally wrenching meditation on family, desire, and truth. And the malleability of all three during the darkest days of the Great Depression.

http://driftlessareareview.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/aberration-of-starlight-1980... ( )
1 vote kswolff | May 25, 2011 |
This was like nothing else I'd read before, and I admit I decided to read it based largely on the fact that it takes place in New Jersey, my beloved home state. Aberration of Starlight takes you through one summer day at a boarding house told from the perspective of four narrators, with each account adding a layer of detail to the previous one(s). It really is a rather interesting look at the development of story and character, and a book that I'd recommend to anyone interested in the art or structure of writing, particularly to aspiring writers. I was, however, somewhat turned off by the frequent casual use of ethnic slurs. While this gave you an acute sense of both the time period and the characters' true natures, and while the story would have been nowhere near as gritty and affecting without it, I still felt very uncomfortable with it. ( )
  plenilune | Jul 10, 2008 |
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Set at a boardinghouse in rural New Jersey in the summer of 1939, this novel revolves around four people who experience the comedies, torments and rare pleasures of family, romance and sex while on vacation from Brooklyn and the Depression. Billy Recco, an eager ten-year-old in search of a father... Marie Recco, nee McGrath, an attractive divorcee caught between her son and father, without a life of her own... John McGrath, dignified in manner yet brutally soured by life, insanely fearful of his daughter's restlessness... Tom Thebus, a rakish salesman who precipitates the conflict between Marie's hopes and her father's wrath. What emerges is a sure understanding of four people who are occasionally ridiculous, but whose integrity and good intentions are consistently, and tragically, frustrated. Combining humor and feeling, balancing the details and the rhythms of experience, Aberration of Starlight re-creates a time and a place as it captures the sadness and value of four lives. First published by Random House in 1980, it is widely considered one of Sorrentino's finest novels.

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