Review by clyoblue -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

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clyoblue
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Latest Review: "The Nobel Prize" by Mois benarroch
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Review by clyoblue -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Post by clyoblue » 05 Apr 2017, 21:15

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Nobel Prize" by Mois benarroch.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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What does an oversexed, vaguely misogynistic, poor but principled writer do when confronted with an comely alien amputee who subsists on human memories? It won’t spoil anything to describe what transpires as an athletic ballet. In his brisk new novel (novella?), The Nobel Prize, Mois Benarroch unravels the delicate tendrils of sanity as they are plucked one by one from a narrator who has too few to spare.

Jorge Acuario is the well respected but underfunded writer in question who punctuates his awkward encounters with lines like, “More and more often I make people laugh without intending to do so, and at night, it made me weep.” Acuario learns in passing that a peripheral spectre from his past, Pablo Pisces, has resurfaced, committed to mental institution where he is taken hostage by the characters of his own novels, who possess him mind and body each day. Some are harmless. One confesses, “I’ve killed someone, many years ago, I’ve killed a woman, because my family said I couldn’t do anything.” Acuario begins to visit Pisces on a regular basis, each time absorbing more of the anguished writer’s sickness.

Acuario finds that he can predict which characters will manifest with Pisces on any given day, and rushes to the institution when he has a premonition that Claudio the suicide is due for a visit. The Nobel Prize is indeed granted in the book, but it’s an afterthought that caps a twisted tale of a shared identity crisis. The line between reality and imagination suffers as Jorge Acuario takes this strange world with him when he leaves the institution. “As in many of these meetings,” he reveals, “I could not convince myself they were real, I was not sure whether I had imagined them, or even written them, at least in my mind. Or if they really happened.”

Benarroch’s dialogue-heavy style makes even some of his digressions breezy reading. Pisces dada-esque phone conversation with a help-line operator alone is worth the price of admission. He evokes the dreamy kind of dread one feels when waking up from a black out drunk as the unsettled brain struggles to maintain consistent focus. The reader will let down her guard just enough to accept the questionable reality that develops.

What if your imagination is your reality, what if it is in your best interest to create characters that seem real enough to you and even more alive to your readers, characters that you could maybe converse with in your mind. What if those characters become detached, free floating, like thoughts, and then maybe in a moment of spiritual or physical weakness, they find you empty and take the opportunity to enter you, to possess you more completely than before. Our self-conception is vulnerable to passing fancy. Couldn’t I as easily be a Gene or a Benjamin instead of an Anthony? What if I had no choice? Benarroch keeps us guessing until the very end, when our narrator comes to terms with the discomfiting flights of random coincidence that plague his daily routine. Benarroch earns 4 out of 4 stars for juggling suspense, sex, and philosophy in a story that, for anyone who has ever loved a character on the page or screen, is eerily, entirely plausible.

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The Nobel Prize
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Post by MarisaRose » 12 Oct 2017, 06:51

I've sampled some of this author's work before, but had a hard time with his style. However, the premise of this book sounds really unique - I love the idea of the author's perspective and taking on a different character's persona daily. I'll have to read the sample for this one, as I'm still unsure how I feel about the writing style (I think a lot gets lost in translation with this particular author).
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Post by GCamer » 12 Oct 2017, 07:04

Sounds like a very intriguing plot but I might find it difficult to understand the writing style. Your review makes me very interested to the story, though. Thank you!

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Post by gali » 12 Oct 2017, 07:08

An author who takes the personality of his characters and even awarded the Nobel prize?? Sounds interesting.
I am not sure it is for me, but I am glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you for the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by mindyg123 » 12 Oct 2017, 07:24

Good review. A book that blurs the line between sanity and insanity and uses humor to blur those lines sounds like my type of book. Humor is always my go to read. Congrats on being BOTD

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Post by Mercy Bolo » 12 Oct 2017, 07:27

Awesome review. Mois Benarroch's style is quite out of the ordinary. I just couldn't help but get hooked.
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Post by Chuks Daniel » 12 Oct 2017, 07:28

A satirical novel with strange characters about an author who plays a character in his books seems quite alien. A nice work of fiction though.

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Post by BoyLazy » 12 Oct 2017, 07:31

I was confused upon seeing various other reviews.. But this review gave me some clarity and yes I am going to read this book now :) thanks for the great review.
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Post by ReviewerDiksha » 12 Oct 2017, 07:35

This book has a very unique concept. I can't wait to get a hold of this. Also, your review is very good. I like your writing style.

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Post by Kdott96 » 12 Oct 2017, 07:37

I was confused at first from the other reviews but this is great I’m new to this review thing but it seems pretty cool

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Post by kislany » 12 Oct 2017, 07:37

This is, indeed, a very unique themed book. Interesting review, it got me curious about it.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Oct 2017, 07:38

It definitely sounds like this style would be for a specific audience. I don't think I'm that audience, but I really do appreciate your review. I love the way you describe it as an athletic ballet. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Kat Berg » 12 Oct 2017, 07:49

Although I read a lot in this genre, this is quite a unique sounding book, which is always a pleasant surprise to run across. I am looking forward to reading it. It sounds a little like the disjointed style of Douglas Adams. Could be fun, or could be off-putting :) hard to tell until you are into it.

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Post by ktrae910 » 12 Oct 2017, 08:01

The review is good. I like that you described the writing style as it seems much different from most fiction. I am curious about it and am considering reading it.

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Post by mercy wangechi » 12 Oct 2017, 08:01

Good review which encouraged me to read more about The Nobel Prize. Its slender length made it quick for me to read.
The book is about a struggling writer, who is also the narrator, who gets a little hope when he finds out that a fellow writer is now in a mental institute. He visits him and comes to realize that he takes on the roles of the characters that he had written in his various books. This interests George and he gets to track down all the books the fellow writer had written in his career and understand the characters that he had written. The narrator points out the state of many authors who struggle to make ends meet.
I believe the book would have been more enjoyable if the grammatical errors and the obscene chapter would have been left out.

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