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The Unknown Knowns: A Novel por Jeffrey…
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The Unknown Knowns: A Novel (edição 2009)

por Jeffrey Rotter (Autor)

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Jim Rath's wife has grown tired of his hobbies: his immaculately maintained comics collection, his creepy underwater experiments, and his dreams of building a museum based on the Aquatic Ape Theory of Human Evolution. On the night that she leaves him, Jim thinks he has spotted an emissary from a lost aquatic race called the Nautikons. In truth, the man is a low-level agent of the Department of Homeland Security. What follows is a riveting story of two quixotic men who stalk each other toward a bloody showdown -- a spectacularly moronic act of terrorism at an aging water park.The Unknown Knowns-- its title is a reference to a quote from former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- is a brilliant send-up of the insidious language and sometimes tragically comic focus of our country's Homeland Security Department. Combining the social satire of Kurt Vonnegut with the paranoid delusions of Thomas Pynchon, Rotter takes everyday domestic fixations and turns them into a hilarious assessment of the human condition. Fresh, imaginative, and deft,The Unknown Knownsmarks the arrival of a unique new voice in literary fiction.… (mais)
Membro:alkoebel
Título:The Unknown Knowns: A Novel
Autores:Jeffrey Rotter (Autor)
Informação:Scribner (2009), 272 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca, Para ler
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The Unknown Knowns por Jeffrey Rotter

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I really wanted to like this one more, mainly because it garnered a favorable review from Douglas Coupland and, although I found the writing at times quite clever and engaging, the plot really isn't all there and though it succeeds in being partly a fantasy world of the protagonist's delusions of an entire secret underwater civilization that he finds in hotel pools and partly a minor statement about the ideas Americans currently have about terrorists, it's a little half baked and not all there. It works as a creative light and entertaining read but the ideas are not substantiated enough and after awhile, it seems like the kind of novel I'd forget about easily.

I do like the comic book angle in some of the chapters, though, and the writing style is quirky in a good way..so I bet I might like another novel of his that he put more time and thought into.


Still, there are quite a few great passages....some quotes:

pg. 50 "Conviction. Such a funny two faced word. The minute I started having them, they wanted to give me one."

pg 52 "Entering a hotel room is like walking into a civilized world that was there before human occupation."

pg. 54 "Morning came like sharks."

pg. 182 "...he looks at her with profound anxiety. His thoughts reach her in tangles."

( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Jim Rath has some interesting beliefs. He believes that humanities's evolution took a sojourn underwater a few million years ago. He believes careful meditation submersed in hotel pools will reveal to him the secrets of a lost underwater kingdom. He believes that only men and emotional cripples, both of which he is not, can't cry. Most importantly, he knows that that man in the Colorado Springs Hilton is an emissary of the Nautikons, and it is his job to make contact as representative of the air-breathers.
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At least one of these beliefs is not true.
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The Unknown Knows, Rotter's first novel, is a peek inside an extremely intelligent, stunningly inventive, and distressingly obsessive mind. Written as part memoir, part confession, it follows Rath's thought processes as he drives farther and farther away from his wife, his life, and society in general. Rotter does an excellent job of portraying that sort of hyper-rational geek who does not seem to realize that, to the rest of the world, the focus of his obsessions are not only trivial, but indeed bizarre and absurd. The language with which Rath describes his actions has a certain elegance in its consistent awkwardness, as a man who wishes to express the utmost seriousness but does not entirely understand the way most people would do it. Though he may very well be insane, his geeky charm is endearing, and the conviction with which he follows his near-mad beliefs in an underwater world of estro-wisdom, free of violence and fear, left this reader hoping and praying that all would turn out well in the end. Unfortunately, Les Dias, his government agent foil, has his own delusions and paranoia, which marks Jim as not only a weirdo but an enemy of the state.
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The Unknown Knows has something to say on the state of fear and security in this world of enemy combatants and dirty bombs; however, more than anything, it is a story of a sad little man trying to make a better world out of the fantasy he has created. Rotter's dialog and descriptions are witty and often very funny, with a hint of anguish. The world does not understand Jim Rath, and in many ways he does not understand the world. At least... not the world on dry land, but under the water, everything makes just a little more sense. ( )
  Magus_Manders | May 31, 2009 |
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Jim Rath's wife has grown tired of his hobbies: his immaculately maintained comics collection, his creepy underwater experiments, and his dreams of building a museum based on the Aquatic Ape Theory of Human Evolution. On the night that she leaves him, Jim thinks he has spotted an emissary from a lost aquatic race called the Nautikons. In truth, the man is a low-level agent of the Department of Homeland Security. What follows is a riveting story of two quixotic men who stalk each other toward a bloody showdown -- a spectacularly moronic act of terrorism at an aging water park.The Unknown Knowns-- its title is a reference to a quote from former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- is a brilliant send-up of the insidious language and sometimes tragically comic focus of our country's Homeland Security Department. Combining the social satire of Kurt Vonnegut with the paranoid delusions of Thomas Pynchon, Rotter takes everyday domestic fixations and turns them into a hilarious assessment of the human condition. Fresh, imaginative, and deft,The Unknown Knownsmarks the arrival of a unique new voice in literary fiction.

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