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The Carnivorous Lamb (1975)

por Agustin Gomez-Arcos, Agustin Gomez-Arcos

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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238289,571 (4.22)6
The latest in the Little Sister's Classics series resurrecting gay and lesbian literary gems: a viciously funny, shocking yet ultimately moving 1975 novel, an allegory of Franco's Spain, about a young gay man coming of age with a mother who despises him, a father who ignores him, and a brother who loves him. The novel is set in the 1950s, narrated by a 13-year-old who describes himself as a "carnivorous lamb"; an innocent who in truth is anything but. The youngest of two sons, he is kept sheltered at home by his overbearing mother until his thirteenth birthday, and disciplined by his tutor and the family priest so that he may follow the right path to adulthood. But he rebels against those who wish to contain him, and his turbulent rites of passage are veiled responses to a hateful mother, an indifferent father, and the authority of church and state. In this way, The Carnivorous Lamb is both an incisive family saga and an acerbic political satire. The Carnivorous Lamb, originally written in French, won the Prix Hermes, and this, its 1984 English translation, was widely acclaimed. This edition includes a new introduction by Sharon G. Feldman, professor of Spanish literature and is the author of Allegories of Dissent: The Theater of Agustin Gomez-Arcos, as well as an appendix of supplementary materials.… (mais)
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Sex and politics mix in the tale of a gay man's coming of age in Fascist Spain. Well written, very sexy. ( )
  mritchie56 | Oct 26, 2007 |
The question isn't whether this is a 'good book.' Enough unanimous praise from reviewers and readers has been given to bother kicking that horse again. The question is whether this is one of those 'good books' that people like me actually want to read. Or is it one of those that sound pretentious enough that only pretentious people read them, therefore avoiding any bad rep from those with normal tastes. Most people seem to say it's very enjoyable, but what kind of enjoyable are we talking here?

The book is a metaphor for Spain during the Franco years. Unfortunately I'm a shinning product of the far too self-centered history educational program of America, so I have a fairly limited grasp of what that means. For those in a similar boat, personally I felt like I was missing out on another level of interest this book could have held, but it's not going to kill your understanding of the story or anything like that.

So what do People Like Me think of the rest? People Like Me being people who come in to these things for the man smex, but have a fear of the detached, remote feeling historical literature can have, whilst still sometimes gravitating toward the more 'literary' stuff in hopes that will ensure non-crappy writing and characters.

Personally, I did like this book. But I'd probably feel up someone's tastes and what book mood their in pretty extensively before considering recommending this one. Overall, the main impression left with me from this book is a story of the beautiful, purifying, redeeming, healing power love can have. It was certainly erotic in parts, and at the same time I was very glad to see how well it portrayed the sex as not just passionate release but an integral part of the love (without over dramatizing the purity and good of it all and denying it's more carnal attractions). I will remember this as a wonderfully sweet love story.

But thought it's the main vein of the book, if you come in looking for that, you may be disappointed by the lack of text dedicated to the interactions between the lovers, or even descriptions of their feelings for one another. The book is heavy on description, but it's mostly the inner musings of the main character about his life and mother. The prose is of a simple, easy style to read, the narration a bit bleak but with some dark wit now and then. But if you're planning on holding your breath till every scene of erotic passion... Save this for another day.

And then again, this book DID have that remote, detached feel I fear running in to when I read more 'literary' books. It's not a weakness, it's definitely the way this book is MEANT to be. But as someone who simply prefers to feel closer to the characters she reads about, it made the book much less engaging. In the beginning, I almost thought I would never like the book at all. Eventually I was drawn in to feeling for and wanting the main character to get past all the oppression around them and be happy, and that was what kept me reading, but it was less like being there and feeling it all through the character and more like hearing about a hard time a friend of a friend is having and feeling sorry for them because it all sounds so horrible, rather than because you know and feel connected to them.

Still, though I rather meandered through this book, I still found it satisfying. I do have to say that I find the passionate love some seem to have for it a little bewildering. In the end, I felt a little warm and smiley, but I can't say I found it overly gripping, interesting, or intensely enjoyable.

As for the translation, people have complained. I'm not about to test my French on the original, but seeing as how readers of the French version praise it's glorious prose and nothing about the prose here struck me, I'd say it probably has lost something.

(Though what do I know when I've just disagreed with their other glorious praise as well? ^_^;) ( )
1 vote narwhaltortellini | Jul 14, 2007 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Agustin Gomez-Arcosautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Gomez-Arcos, Agustinautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Odom, MelArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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The latest in the Little Sister's Classics series resurrecting gay and lesbian literary gems: a viciously funny, shocking yet ultimately moving 1975 novel, an allegory of Franco's Spain, about a young gay man coming of age with a mother who despises him, a father who ignores him, and a brother who loves him. The novel is set in the 1950s, narrated by a 13-year-old who describes himself as a "carnivorous lamb"; an innocent who in truth is anything but. The youngest of two sons, he is kept sheltered at home by his overbearing mother until his thirteenth birthday, and disciplined by his tutor and the family priest so that he may follow the right path to adulthood. But he rebels against those who wish to contain him, and his turbulent rites of passage are veiled responses to a hateful mother, an indifferent father, and the authority of church and state. In this way, The Carnivorous Lamb is both an incisive family saga and an acerbic political satire. The Carnivorous Lamb, originally written in French, won the Prix Hermes, and this, its 1984 English translation, was widely acclaimed. This edition includes a new introduction by Sharon G. Feldman, professor of Spanish literature and is the author of Allegories of Dissent: The Theater of Agustin Gomez-Arcos, as well as an appendix of supplementary materials.

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