UNIQUE ITEM - delta novel with a hundred endings ~BookRing~
14 journalers for this copy...
This is Milorad Pavic's latest novel, published last year and translated in English few weeks ago. This time Pavic has written "multi-ending story that diverges into one hundred branches".
In Serbian there are actually two books: one which is regular novel ("Unique Item") and second one is "Blue Book" with rest 99 endings. English version is a fusion of those two books so reader may "choose his/her own end".
From the book:
The author has followed the ancient wisdom that says: the ending is the crown and the demise of a work. Therefore this novel is not like other books. It finishes differently for every reader, so each receives his own end to tale. For this book has one hundred different endings. Like the hundred gold coins that the poor man in a folk tale receives for a magic bird. Thus you can choose whichever ending you prefer. Leave the rest to others. Be satisfied with your own end, you do not need another's.
AND THEN COMES THE WARNING:
"Just as smoking is bad for your health, so is the reading of a hundred endings of the same book. It is almost like gaining one hundred deaths instead of one"
So everything is up to you...
UPDATE: 20th June 2005.
Well, this book is far away from Dictionary Of The Khazars or "Landscape Painted With Tea" or "Inner Side Of The Wind" but then it wasn't meant to be such an ambitious work (that is my impression). So it is important (but hard, I admit) to avoid taking this book with thoughts of Pavic's previous novels.
At first I was surprised by style and I'm not sure did I like it. As if someone is describing me scenes from movie while I'm in the kitchen for a few moments. But then comes his metaphors, describing, his tiny magic spider net - old Pavic! And of course I'm finding myself seduced again. It is kind of hard to define where the plot is actually sets? In "reality" or in dream or in story about characters are dreaming but it seems in all those floors.
Pavic is writing about (among other things) some old (unknown?) books, about one famous writer, his work and life based on actual, historical facts (which always thrilled me) but of course with his typical few drops of magic.
Now, you will love this book or you'll hate it, but again this is typical for all Pavic's books.
I didn't read "Blue Book" because I wanted to turn this ring on. On the other hand I may read it whenever I want since, as I wrote those branches are separate from their tree in Serbian version. My end is number 19 and I'm satisfied so far.
Now, Pavic has left at the end of the book some blank pages for those readers who wish to write their own end. If you are on of them, you may do that, but I'm afraid there will be not enough space for more than few so if there are no space for you, add on some paper your own end into the book or you may post here whatever you wish.
That's all (for now).
This is Milorad Pavic!
Released 14 yrs ago (7/1/2005 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
1. blaisezabini12, Cluj-Napoca - Romania (read and released)
2. concertina8, Vienna - Austria (read and released)
3. BookHaven01, Porto - Portugal (read and released)
4. CatharinaL, Tampere - Finland (read and released)
5. ScottishHoosier, Westhill - UK (read and released)
6. UrbanSpaceman, London - UK (read and released)
7. chelseagirl, Hampshire - UK (read and released)
8. rahar109, Hampshire - UK (read and released)
9. tehuti, Nottingham - UK (read and released)
10. YowlYY, Nottingham - UK (read and released)
11. kittiwake, Nottingham - UK (read and released)
12. angi612uk, Devon - UK (read and released)
13. MrsDanvers, Cambridgeshire - UK (read and released)
14. goatgrrl, British Columbia - Canada (asked to be skipped)
15. ldpaulson, California - USA <------ Book is on its way here!
16. affinity4books, Texas - USA
17. cordelia-anne, Georgia - USA
18. icekween01, Missouri - USA
19. Luintaurien, Nebraska - USA
20. mojosmom, Illinois - USA
21. Megi53, Virginia - USA
22. Lisagt, Sidney - Australia
23. Rrrcaron, New Hampshire - USA
24. GlasgowGal, Glasgow - UK
25. quico, Coimbra - Portugal
26. Pequete, Bragança - Portugal
27. Sternschnuppe28, Mainz - Germany
28. KittyNic, Hull - UK
29. sunflowergirl, Pocklington - UK
9 August 05: finished the book today and it was a strange reading which doesn't suit me that much. The thing I enjoyed the most was probably the ideea of being able to dream the dreams of someone else.
My ending is number 18 but I think that the endings weren't assigned numbers randomly: it seemed that each new ending offered a new piece of information so it was a good idea to read them all in order and then decide where I should have liked the ending to be.
I'll mail the book this week to the next reader. Thank you zzz for offering the oportunity of reading this book.
12 August 05: mailed this morning to the next BCer
have to finish one book i'm currently in the middle of, but that shouldn't take too long.
thx to blaisezabini12 for sending and of course to zzz for sharing!
my ending was 22, but i agree with blaisezabini12 that it was nonetheless crucial to read all offered endings, as details helpful towards the unsolved or only partially solved murders were given and different approaches towards solutions were suggested. i believe some endings were connected story-wise.
what bothered me, though, was a serious amount of spelling mistakes and wrongful use of english propositions. even though i'm far from being an english scholar, this did irritate me a lot. seems to be a rather poor translation work.
anyway, i have contacted bookhaven01 for re-confirmation of her address (she was after me in the list for the previous dictionary-ring, so i DO have it). the book should be off sometime this week.
yet again a big thank you to zzz for the intruduction to milorad pavic, an author i probably would not have stumbled into at local bookstores, since there are no books available by him, as far as i know, which is unfortunate.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
on its way to portugal...
i have a couple of rings ahead, but i expect to start reading it within a week.
thanks a lot zzz and concertina8!
pavic has an exquisite imaginary and it was a wonderful opportunity to get aqquainted to such an extraordinary author and for this i thank you, milan!
as for the mispellings, well the same happened to the first edition of ulisses, so no worries...
in my opinion, pavic is also making a revolutionary, ground breaking work, he is really good, and i hope to hear more from him.
i almost forgot... my ending is 19.
unique item is moving on to finland this monday.
(I took quite a while to peruse the beautiful postcard of Belgrade, attached to the inside of the back cover. My hubby visited the city this summer and immediately recognized the Prince Mihailo pedestrian street!)
I loved the tightly-woven thematics on every one of the levels, with an abundant dab of surrealism thrown in. The web-like structure was absolutely brilliant and so entirely different from traditional narration that it's difficult to even start to unravel or further analyze Pavić's postmodernist mastery.
I also love the ambiguous name chosen for the genre, 'delta novel', as both referring to the symbol for change, sexuality, and the water branching off in multiple channels as in the delta of the River Nile. All the possible endings together formed several new layers to the story, but after reading the evidence pouring in from all of them collectively, I'm choosing #53 - maybe for its subtle hints to Distelli's inheritance & the lovely décor of allusions to surrealist art. Maybe. After all, it doesn't really matter.
The physical appearance of the book as an object (= the cover illustration) also takes my breath away. I'll definitely be looking for more of Tamara de Lempicka's work. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the sloppy orthography and the linguistic errata in the book. Please tell me the "Bella Bartock" was just an intentional infliction of pain on the author's part :-)
Oh, just a note: what does the last name Lempytzka actually refer to? De Lempicka, sure, but maybe also another perfume, Lolita Lempicka Au masculin? And was Klozewitz supposed to have evoked the military philosopher Clausewitz and his ideas of nonlinearity?
[27/10] The book has been mailed to ScottishHoosier.
When I was a pre-teen and into my early teen years there were a series of books which were very popular in the US. They were called choose-your-own-adventure stories. There was a bit of story to give you the setting, and then you had a choice to make. For A you went to page 12, say, and for B you went to page 34. There was some more story, and then you had another choice to make. And so it went. I thought this book would be similar to that. Not so! You are told the story of three murders and the book is nearly done. The detective investigating the murders is unsatisfied with the results, and keeps on looking. The reader then picks one of the 100 endings and reads it. I chose no. 59. It is recommended you leave it at that. I did read a few more of the endings, but decided not to read all 100. I'll be a good girl!
I found the book quite surreal and quirky, but we are dealing with the world of dreams. When do dreams ever make real sense? I would have liked to have known more about Alex and Sandra. Why were they so in debt. What was their project? And they were lucky that Sir Winston was happy to wait so long for them to achieve what he told them to do.
I also noticed some misspellings and strange combinations. I wondered with the strange combinations if they were not translated well, or if the author had written something equally strange in the original. It didn't distract me much. It is a first edition, and I would never have gotten to read it if it hadn't been translated!
I haven't yet read the Dictionary of the Khazars, so can't compare. I'm looking forward to being able to.
Thank you very much, zzz! And the postcard is beautiful! I hope to go to Belgrade some day, and hope to meet you.
Anyway, a very interesting novel. While reading it I was struck that it is itself somewhat quite like the description of dreams given in it. Now, having finished it and read some (but not all) of the possible endings, I does seem more like a dream that I've dreamed that a book that I've read.
I'll send it on to Chelseagirl once I've checked her address.
PMing tehuti for her address.
ETA: 20/05 Posted to tehuti this morning
Rahar100, I've just rediscovered the chocolate you sent :)) Thank you so much. I'm secreted away in a place of refuge where I've been nursed back to health and given lots of TLC and all is perfect except I was yearning for chocolate and my host has none. I'm fixed now, heh, heh.
I read this book on the way to and during a brief break in Rome so was able to read all of it in very few sessions. I enjoyed the surrealism, history, magic and dreams, with the corresponding questions raised as to the nature of reality. I confess also to being a mega sad individual and reading ALL the endings, but this is where I also have to express some disappointment, because none of them really satisfied me!!! I wish I had the talent and imagination to write my own ending and send it on with the book!
Will pass on to Yowlyy as soon as possible.
I will start it soon... I am quite intrigued by a book that offers 100 different ways of ending a story!!
My ending was no.12, and I was strong... no more endings for me, although I am not so sure it is a good ending for that story.
Anyway, enough said...the book is going to be passed on to Kittiwake at the Nottingham meetup on Saturday, 17th.
Thanks for sharing and getting to know another author I'd never heard about before!
My favourite ending was number 26, which left Chief Inspector Stross with his suspicions about the suspects' degrees of guilt and innocence but no proof.
I found the first part of the novel the best and liked the character "Alex". I got a little lost in the surrealism and dreamscape in the report. Mt ending was 8 wich wasn't very satisfactory, but I resisted the urge to read the others to find something I liked.
I was curious about Pushkin's ancestry and have done a little research since - fascinating, one doesn't really think of slave traders in the context of Africa and Russia.
Unfortunately I felt the mystery of the narrative was let down by the poor translation to English.