Read The Society of Others by William Nicholson Online


Cool, clear-eyed, and bluntly cynical, the young narrator of The Society of Others embarks on a journey without a destination. He hitchhikes through Europe only to find himself in a mystifying country where terrorists are inexplicably after him, and so is a sinister government. In a surreal landscape where people are shot to death without reason and social control runs deeCool, clear-eyed, and bluntly cynical, the young narrator of The Society of Others embarks on a journey without a destination. He hitchhikes through Europe only to find himself in a mystifying country where terrorists are inexplicably after him, and so is a sinister government. In a surreal landscape where people are shot to death without reason and social control runs deep, he must learn who to trust–and what to stand for. Fast paced and provocative, a gripping philosophical thriller, The Society of Others is an ingenious meditation on the nature of contemporary innocence and identity....

Title : The Society of Others
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400078219
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Society of Others Reviews

  • Natalia
    2019-04-30 09:28

    It had taken me two reads to completely understand this story. Or to believe that I understand it. Understanding what the hell happens in the end was especially hard. The Society of Others takes you on a journey through philosophy, art, literature, music and the human state. On my second reading, I picked up on references of old master paintings that Nicholson inserted into his scenes (the most obvious one being the theorbo playing in girl in the brothel; the painting is A Young Woman Playing a Theorbo to Two Men by a Dutch 16th century painter Gerard Ter Borch.I plan to go back and find others) which made the book into a hunt. I found that enjoyable. This book makes you work, and if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded (although, many people don't like that). This might be the reason why this novel would work better as a screen play (as some reviews mention), since things like music and language (which is also an important element) are easily expressed. There is a lot of content packed into 200-something pages. It is thrown at the reader quickly and it is easy to just pass it by. Here come the spoilers. I think the most problematic thing about this novel for people is the ending. First, I was also quite disappointed and confused by it. However, when I went back to the book the second time, I read it somewhat differently. That land, that unknown, uncharted territory, is the character's mind. All of the people, places, problems, are his mind's projection, and that is explained at the end (although various clues are dropped from the beginning). He is God of that world, and when he does realize that he can do whatever he pleases, he is left alone (although even when that happens, he still doesn't know that he is, ultimately, in control). He is being chased by himself - a lonely, cynical man. That part was easy to work out. My question was, how did he get there? What happened between "the real world" and his mind's world? That part is not answered. My theory, however, is that he kills himself right at the beginning, just like he does at the end, at the table in the room lined by books. He is the executioner. Chapter 2 ends with "Before you know it I'll be gone." He decides to go on a journey with no destination, into an unknown land. Chapter 3 begins with him at the service station by the motorway, crossing the boundaries of the two worlds. Whatever happens between chapter 2 and 3, brings him to purgatory, where the rest of the book is spent, until he understands what has happened. For him to move on, he needed to have realized what he was, what he had and what he had missed. In the end, he is apologetic but not the people who are being killed in the concert hall, but to the ones who had loved him in life and those he had abandoned and hurt by his actions. The Concert; the final bow; "It's not over until the thin guy sings." That scene is full of imagery of death and moving on (the swelling and falling of music, his feeling of floating). The concert was his death. Or rather, his passing from purgatory to whatever lies beyond.Of course, this theory might be wrong. The last paragraph of the book in which he talks about going home might be interpreted as him actually going back home to England. But, I don't think so. There is a strong moral in the story. It's up to the reader to decide what it is. There are also other questions the books poses. Such as, "Who really are the 'good guys'?" It also examines the nature of totalitarian, oppressed societies. But all that is only the background for the story of the man (that can be read as "man", general, since he states right at the beginning that it could be any of us). Sure, that might be a singular, slightly vain way of looking at it, but everything about his existence in that world was self-centered (all of the characters did care about England quite a lot). This books is definitely worth the read and the time. I won't call it brilliant, but it is multi-layered, captivating, thought-provoking, and in parts quite beautiful. I have loved William Nicholson's writing since I was about 11 and first read the Wing Singer Trilogy. It has influenced me and my art in many ways. But it wasn't until last year - eight years later - that I read The Society of Others. I was not let down, especially after rereading it and pausing to appreciate all of the allusions and work that seems to have been put into it (but more appropriately, crammed into it). My rating of this book went up from 4 stars to 5.

  • Emma
    2019-05-10 09:47

    An unusual novel- an un-named narrator decides to find himself on a trip to Eastern Europe. He accidentally gets embroiled in the county's political instability, interacting with the violent state police, the terrorists/freedom fighters, and the mysterious society of others. It feels a little pretentious to begin with, and even after re-reading the final chapter, I still can't work out what happened at the end. However, there is real beauty in this book- in both the form of poetry scattered throughout its pages, and the side characters who selflessly help the narrator in his quest to escape the country.

  • Gail Winfree
    2019-05-11 09:32

    I bought this advance reading copy of “The Society of Others” at the thrift store for 50 cents. I’d seen it on the shelf often, but always ignored it. Finally, I decided to buy it believing there was a reason it kept jumping out at me. It was a good purchase.A young Englishman, probably in his early to mid 20s, narrates “The Society of Others.” His father is a successful writer, his mother is an art historian, and his sister is just a sister. The family is financially well-off. His father has met and married another woman and has a child with her; however, father is still loved and accepted by his ex-wife and children. There is love in the family but a lack of understanding of this love on the part of the narrator. The narrator loathes his life and life in general. His idea of living is sleeping the days and nights away in his room watching the TV with the volume turned off. He has no ambition and doesn’t care about anything. That’s what we learn in the first two chapters.Upon graduation from college, the narrator’s father gives him money and tells him to do whatever he likes with it. He decides to leave home, so he hits the road and hitches a ride with a philosophical trucker. The narrator has no destination in mind, but the trucker does. He’s smuggling books into another country (we never know what country). After crashing through the border crossing, the trucker is caught and killed, while the narrator escapes. He then gets caught up with a group of terrorists, the state and secret police, a peasant family, a school teacher, and a cello-playing priest, among others. It’s a sad country, everyone’s sad. There’s a war between the totalitarian state and the terrorists, and the narrator is in the middle and will play a key role in the outcome.Throughout the novel, we never learn the narrator’s name or the name of the country. We can assume it’s an East European country. The narrator does not know what country he is in and cannot understand the language. In fact, the author does a good job keeping this information from the reader.“The Society of Others” is a philosophical thriller that reads like a fable. It calls attention to concepts like loyalty, innocence, and identity. It’s a little over 200 pages, which is a quick read. However, the ending will have you going back and trying to piece together the philosophical puzzle that is this book.

  • Alex Poulin
    2019-05-21 15:42

    I enjoyed the story immensely, though I can agree with the detractors. The ending was a bit confusing, and abrupt, however, the nameless character has such a journey and changes throughout, only to suggest no real change at all. A refreshing change to the "traditional" coming-of-age story. Mr. Nicholson has no problem providing uncomfortable themes and actions without being gratuitous. GREAT READ and THOUGHT PROVOKING.

  • Oriana
    2019-04-28 10:22

    my sister, who never reads, is reading this book on her travels in South America. I am flabbergasted and ecstatic that she's taking the time to read at all, and I must have this book finished by the time she gets back.************************************************************update: Welp, I'm really sad to have to take a break fromAgainst the Day, but it must be done. This book looks like a quick read, tho, so hopefully I won't forget too much of Pynchon while I'm sidetracked. ************************************************************update the second Ok, so I admit that I wasn't exactly expecting to love this book. Sis aside, I am generally an unapologetic book snob, and my interests were not piqued by this one. And I wasn't wrong, really,Society of Others definitely wasn't that good. See, I mean, it starts real shitty, with this very overdone illustration of a totally disaffected, misanthropic, angry twenty-something guy. A lot of 'My parents want me to be happy, but isn't that a lot to ask? I mean, they don't actually want me to be happy, they want my happiness to make them feel like they're validated in how they raised me...' That sort of thing. Dude just hanging out alone in his bedroom, being pissed off that his dad gave him a bunch of money to go on a post-college vacation. Oh poor baby.So that's the beginning. Then the middle actually picked up and was rather good. Dude begrudgingly goes on said vacation, but by hitchhiking, and not asking the trucker who picks him up where they're going. So then it switches to a different thing. After driving for days, they're about to cross a serious border, and the trucker asks dude to just hide an envelope in his pocket when they cross, and then of course they come to a roadblock manned by guys with guns, dude has to jump out of the car and run into the forest, while the baddies kill the trucker and set fire to his truck. So now dude is alone & scared in a foreign country, he doesn't know where he is & doesn't speak the language. It's a super-restrictive totalitarian society & everyone's scared & repressed, and he goes along, being picked up by various resistance organizations and the like. There's a lot of philosophy, a lot of nice scenes, good intrigue, great characters, and I actually thought I was going to wind up being pleasantly surprised by how good of a book it was.But no.Because that's the middle. The end, which you sense is approaching with some trepidation, that dread-in-the-stomach feeling that shit is going to be bad, was awful. Total, seriously disappointing cop-out. Suddenly this book, which has been about tangible, interesting things, becomes this dreadful metaphorical nonsense. Total 'twist' ending, but horribly unjustified. Leaving a real bad taste in your mouth. A real bad why-did-I-bother-with-this-crap taste. Sheesh. Back to Pynchon I releivedly go.

  • Caroline
    2019-05-14 16:33

    Well, damn. I have had this book on my 'currently-reading' list since June. I just finished it today. And. I. Don't. Get. It. Which is NOT to say I did not enjoy the book. An angsty youth. A dystopian society somewhere in Europe. Three factions going head-to-head. Fahrenheit 451-esqueness with the ban on books and learning. Starts out slow and then by page 40, things start to spiral into insanity. I appreciated the Vicino quotes. And other views of the book which made you think about your own life experience. Exempli gratia:"You are life.""I am life." This seems to me an odd formulation. "Don't we usually say, I am alive?"He shrugs, not interested in my semantics. "You are life. You live. You contain all existence within yourself. You are God.""So if I'm God, I can have what I want.""Of course. If you know what you want."In the midst of aches in the joints, anxiety over the payment of bills, concern for the safety of those you love, envy of the rich, fear of robbers, dog-weariness at the end of a long day, and the unacceptable slipping away of youth, there does occasionally appear, like a ray of light piercing the clouds, a moment of joy. Perhaps you have entered the house and sat down before removing your boots. A friend has pressed a drink into your hands, and is telling you the latest news. You see from his face that he's glad you've come in; and you are glad too. Glad to be sitting down, glad of the warming glow of the dirnk, glad of your friend's furrowed brow and eager speech. For this moment, nothing more is required. It is in its way unimprovable. This is what I mean by the Great Enough.They have given me the purist gift known to mankind, which is to care for a stranger in need. My part is to receive the gift, and when my turn comes, to pass it on.I should have known it'd be something philosophical. Philosophy, my nonsensical arch-nemesis, speaking in riddles- which may as well be speaking in tongues as far as my ability to comprehend goes. Ever since my freshman Philo class with a czar of a TA, Katya, and some argument about two boats (an old boat is taken apart at dock and a new boat is built with it, same wood screws and all) being intrinsically the same. Oh the debate, the utter chaos of varying opinions. Was the man he killed himself? If he killed himself, how the hell did he walk out of the room. Why was everything familiar to him? What was it with Vicino? What in the world WAS that ending??? So I have trudged through 224 pages (doesn't sound like a lot, but the print was slightly small, and the line height....) and here I am at a ending that totally perplexes me. Time for me to pen an angry letter to Mister William Nicholson.

  • Dakota S
    2019-05-09 17:42

    Set in a seemingly normal world the narrator describes his adventure of hitchhiking throughout Europe with no set destination. It doesn't take long for him to end up in a backwards terror filled country. People are executed by the government for nothing. This crooked leadership drives its people with fear. The narrator is forced to choose sides and fight for what's right not knowing who to trust or to fear. Reading this book makes you think about what to believe and what not to believe about what the government tells you. Driving the readers into a deep paranoia all questions about life are pondered. The action and suspense caused by this surreal landscape makes it a high paced philosophical thriller making you fear that maybe you're being hunted by the government too. This book was written amazingly really putting you into the narrator's shoes as he fights for his life. Although it wasn't my favorite mystery thriller I found myself sucked into the world and became an easy page turner, A recommended audience is fans of anti-government conspiracy theories or suspenseful action mysteries. I wouldn't recommend to kids or extremely gullible people like me. I didn’t like this book mostly because anti-government stories kinda scare me into thinking my life is in danger. It is a very well written book using imagery and suspense it is just not one of my favourites.

  • David
    2019-05-06 13:49

    Unnamed British youth, having completed his education, slouches about his bedroom, believing the world has nothing to offer him, and everything is pointless anyway.Roused by his parents to do something he hitchhikes to an unnamed totalitarian eastern European country where the government and outlawed opposition seem to wish to outdo each other in brutality. Our 'hero' eventually falls in with a third non-violent intellectual group, based around a philosophical book written by their leader, 'A Society of Others', a book within a book.Through a number of dramatic and often violent encounters our British traveller 'finds himself' and learns the meaning of love, human values, etc. The book sometimes has a dream-like quality, as if he is developing from slouching nihilist to caring human being through dreams rather than real events; it is somewhat surrealistic. However the transformation is too sudden and trite to be believable; a deep subject covered in a superficial manner. Enjoyable, interesting and thought provoking enough when reading it, but it left no lasting impression.

  • T.D. Elliott
    2019-05-21 12:36

    At first, I liked this brisk fable. I even enjoyed the maladapted, casually apathetic protagonist. As the story barreled along and twists showed themselves, I even enjoyed the Kafkaesque-indebted world-building.Then the end showed its face, and this novel became another one of those overly-satisfied with itself reads, something which turns in on itself and becomes an ingrown hangnail and leaves nothing settled or even worth pondering.Which is really too bad. This had a lot of promise. I feel like the author wrote it and, somewhere in the middle-third, realized he didn't know where he was going with it and tacked on an obvious, meta-ending. This is something I just do not care for in an author's bag of tricks. I was so unhappy with the resolution (or lack thereof) that I pushed the book away from me and had to go outside for a breath of fresh air.The nutshell: long on Kafka, short on delivery. Oh well.

  • Matthew Fray
    2019-05-06 12:34

    A strange book. A well-off, cynical 20-something chooses to escape his lazy life and family and hitch a ride to anywhere. He ends up in a (never specified) repressive Eastern European regime where the lorry he hitches in is stopped by men with guns and the driver murdered. And then he goes on the run. Clear and straightforward prose with some arresting images makes this very readable. Although, some of the adjectives make you sit up and take notice. But this is not a straightforward thriller. There are elements of dystopia and Kafka along with some articulate musings, as his experiences changes his mind about life in general and his in particular.

  • Jordan Place
    2019-05-17 10:26

    A young boy trying to figure out what he is going to do with his life and on a whim leaves his house only to end up in an unknown country. Crazy stuff happens and he is force to try and stay alive. I really want my brother to read this because he has no idea where to go from his current spot. I really like the book because with every horrible thing that happens you learn something that will surprise you. I didn't know a book could give me so many realizations until I read this book.

  • Sara
    2019-05-23 10:36

    This book had some sort of otherworldly feel throughout, constantly keeping the reader wondering what is truly going on. Nicholson takes you for a ride, and once you've gotten off, you can still feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins and are left wondering exactly what happened and where. I don't like to give spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.

  • Jo
    2019-05-16 17:36

    Quite an incredible book. The story of a sulky teenage boy running away or a deep tract of philosophy - the meaning of life and the existence of God. All in one book. It is both easy to read and yet challenging.I loved it.

  • Splashconception
    2019-05-25 17:40

    The blurb on the back that referred to this book as a Kafkain fable was right. I kept expecting the ending to be one of those Fight Club moments where you find everything was a dream, or a schizophrenic hallucination. I am not sure who the other author they referenced was and as it is early and the coffee is still kicking in I am not going to rummage through my pile of used books to sell to find it. Doesn't matter anyways because I disagree with their second pick. I would say that its a Kafka fable mixed with Camus' Stranger or perhaps what the novel the Alchemist would be like if it was written by Camus (a whole lot better for one thing). The novel starts of straight enough, the main character is a sardonic little fucker, smug and satisfied in his belief that nothing matters and the actions of human beings are silly (and he is right, in some sense) of course, anyone living with mommy and daddy in their tight little corner of the world (or the same city they grew up in for that matter, or any place that is safe, comfortable and presents a whole lot of routine) can easily come to a similar conclusion, though it doesn't mean much because they haven't really seen anything of the world. A classic Cambell hero's tale trajectory actually, now that I think about, the safe, semi-spoiled, negative character gets bored with his existence--he's intelligent, who wouldn't get bored with any kind of routine existence if they were intelligent, perhaps that is the very nature of human intelligence, boredom with routine mixed with a healthy dose of obsession with the safety that routines present (hell isn't other people, hell is trying to straighten out the contradictions of consciousness and make them linear, well, hell is other people a good portion-say 35 percent of the time as well, at least for those of us who like solitude). So then he sets off on an adventure, but because nothing matters there is no reason to make a plan or direct a path and he just flys out of his home country willy-nilly and very quickly finds himself in the upside down Alice and Wonderland world, or perhaps a fictional eastern European soviet block country, readers choice on that one and his subjected to a series of increasingly intense interactions with a reality he has never been subjected to which have the effect, essentially of ripping open his consciousness. Did I mention its good. Its all the good stuff: disturbing scenes that will make you ponder the usual human elements of terror and psychotic regimes, questions about God, the universe and the self, other stuff too and it doesn't even get lost on one of those hum-drum cliche love affairs that are the archetypal aside of the modern philosophical novel...yes its philosophy as fiction and Kafka meets Camus makes the Alchemist readable for the population that actually reads books. You should read it.

  • Lal
    2019-05-22 16:27

    The story started out as the diary of a disillusioned young adult and soon turned into an uneven parable. Even though, I enjoyed bits and pieces from the book, it handled almost every question asked superficially. The politics of a totalitarian government and its people were mostly one dimensional and were used as plot devices, big philosophical questions were reduced to hackneyed dialogue and cynicism was showed as an angsty teenage phase. The book harbored a lot of potential that was wasted by going too many directions all at once and as a result contradicted its own message. Yet it was an enjoyable read with great thought provoking insight.

  • Dave Morris
    2019-04-30 14:47

    Terrific. Begins like a Greene/Ambler thriller and looks as if it might turn into a Hitchcockian adventure before veering off into something more ambiguous and mysterious. An existential thriller, perhaps.

  • Kichi
    2019-05-12 12:30

    A lot of disturbing philosophical questions in this one. This work is a heavy, intellectual piece of fiction.

  • Eliza Victoria
    2019-05-26 10:46

    I initially thought the ending was underwhelming given that amazing build-up, but upon reflection I thought – how else could it have ended? This novel is written by dramatist William Nicholson, who also co-wrote the script for Gladiator. You could clearly see the talent in the language. The plot is comparable to The Catcher in the Rye, only our Holden Caulfield in this story chooses to remain nameless, and experiences danger so real and so disconnected from his life that it has the power to either scar him permanently, or change his worldview for the better. Our world-weary protagonist is a young man living in England who would rather lock himself in his room than deal with the hypocrisies of society:“My friend Mac is going to be an aid worker in Nepal. This is hilarious because all the aid they need in Nepal is getting out from under all the people like Mac who’ve gone there to find meaning in their lives. They’ve sucked all the available meaning up and now there’s none left for the Nepalese, who have nothing to do except carry explorers’ bags up mountains and sell them drugs. Mac says he doesn’t care, at least he’ll see the mountains. I tell him the thing about a mountain is when you’re on it you don’t see it. You need to be far away to see a mountain. Like at home, looking at a postcard. Mac says you stand on one mountain and look at the next mountain. I say, Then what? Mac says, You’re a real wanker, you know that? Yes, Mac, I’m a real wanker. The genuine article. A simple pleasure that does no harm to man or beast. Be grateful.”…”It’s like fish. Fish swim about all day finding food to give them energy to swim about all day. It makes me laugh. These people who hurry about all day making money to sell each other things. Anyone with eyes to see could tell them their lives are meaningless and they aren’t getting any happier.”He is angry, but I also sensed a deep-seated unhappiness, a disillusionment: ”When I was small I thought the world was like my parents, only bigger. I thought it watched me and clapped when I danced. This is not so. The world is not watching and will never clap.” Well, then. His father introduces an addition to the family: a baby with a younger woman. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Next thing we know our young protagonist is hitchhiking in an unnamed European city, and ends up in the midst of dystopia. The driver of the vehicle he rides in breaks through a checkpoint, and he runs away. From where he hides, he sees the man being tortured. Later he learns that the contraband material the driver is sneaking through the border isn’t drugs, or porn, but books. Why?From here on the novel reads like a thriller. Every now and then the protagonist finds himself debating with other characters about philosophy, and ideology, and faith, and poetry, but the action moves forward. Forward and fast. The narrative has a dreamlike quality that I love.

  • Lleu
    2019-05-03 10:39

    As a reviewer on the cover, as well as many others have pointed out, The Society of Others can be considered a cross between Salinger and Kafka, with some Orwell thrown in. The tone changes rather abruptly as the unnamed narrator lives in England as a kind of slacker with the kind of witty, world-weary cynicism that does evoke Holden Caulfield. When he hitchhikes and has a series of unlikely adventures that land him in a poor and totalitarian country that evokes Cold War Eastern Europe, the whole tone changes as the hero is pursued by sinister secret police, gets involved with violent revolutionaries and then moderate, poetry-loving intellectuals. In the middle of his adventures he also manages to engage in some interesting philosophical and political discussions.I enjoyed most of this book, but found the ending too vague and abstract. This did not come as a total surprise, given the surreal nature of the young man's adventures, but I would have preferred something a bit more concrete. Another objection that could be made is that the development of the story follows in the long tradition of books and films with an underlying Western bias. The people of this unnamed country are ultimately expendable props who exist mainly for the enlightenment of the protagonist. Despite these quibbles, I mostly found The Society of Others an enjoyable and thoughtful coming of age tale that blends philosophy, metaphysics and politics in an interesting manner. I'd be curious to read more works by William Nicholson.

  • Derek Baldwin
    2019-05-19 11:36

    Difficult to say exactly what this reminded me of, but it seemed somehow familiar. Maybe Steppenwolf, or Robert Pirsig, or Stalker (the film, by Tarkovsky) or even Figures In A Landscape (film with um wossname, that bloke in Jaws. Robert Shaw?). Anyway: this is a sort of existential road-trip with added Eastern European menace plus tableaux by Dutch Old Masters eg Pieter De Hooch.But I quite enjoyed this and found it thought-provoking and intelligent stuff. The young hero's plight, lost in an unnamed country, might have been some kind of metaphor for asylum seekers and their oppression in the UK and other countries. But possibly not. The book begins in fairly standard Holden Caulfield mode but then turns very dark. As the narrative unfolds so it becomes ever more clear that the whole thing is really just an allegory for the protagonist's inner state. But I've got nothing against that kind of thing, once in a while.It all ends a little bit limply in a sort of "when I woke up my coffee'd gone cold" sort of way. And I think this has been done before, and better - see examples cited already - but anyway, it's still well worth a read.BTW there was some noticeably bad "search and replace" editing in one section where the word "stretch" had so obviously been replaced with "reach", resulting in some very odd sentences/images. Pocket money deductions for the publisher I reckon.

  • Jeff Hrusko
    2019-04-26 12:39

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it does have its flaws. The best way to sum it up, imagine the Alchemist as written by Camus. Before reading this work, I read some review that stated the ending was confusing…usually when that happens, I’ve found the truth of it is pretty easy to uncover with a little digging. This one. Not so much. It’s either my failing or the Arthurs, or a little of both. But, the ending has enough to it, enough to give it the benefit of the doubt, for me to re-read it several times…it’s sort of like an Escher painting. You follow on line of reasoning, and say “not that doesn’t make sense either.” The beginning of the book is darkly funny and very enjoyable. During the body of the book there’s a few moment when you are just about to roll your eyes…but the story pulls it back just before it totally enters the land of new age voodoo. So all in, the pros out weight the cons of the work.

  • Paul Barton
    2019-05-20 09:49

    The first couple of chapters are enjoyable in a dry sort of way but when the journey to Eastern Europe began, the whole experience changes. We are asked to believe that a teenager becomes embroiled in the affairs of an underground movement in some unidentified communist country.Somewhere in all the shootings, escapes and curious verbal exchanges must lie a deeper meaning. I feel the author is trying to examine the nature of self and belief through the writings of a banned local author but I found it tedious.The writing is plain and simple, spoken through the eyes of a terse, sarcastic teenager. This is quite endearing to begin with but is mysteriously abandoned in favour of a watered down version.

  • Kim
    2019-05-03 13:42

    The narrator of this story, a young man whose name is never revealed, comes from a well-off family but is totally indolent and sees life as pointless. He eventually motivates himself enough to leave home and ends up going on a 'journey with no destination'. Hitching a ride with a lorry driver, he ends up in an unidentified Eastern European country ruled by a violent totalitarian regime. After he encounters the regime's violence he finds himself drawn into two factions of the revolutionary opposition to the regime, one seeking change by violent means and the other by intellectual means. As he experiences these very different groups, he finally begins to find a meaning to interesting read - 7/10

  • Jasminka
    2019-05-18 13:35

    Kad sam prvo uzela knjigu u ruke, barem po onome što sam pročitala na poleđini, pomislila sam da je to opet neki roman ceste, koja prati dogodovštine glavnog lika na putovanju kroz Istočnu Evropu, a i početak je na to asocirao. Ali, ova je knjiga i više od toga i kad je pročitate, tek tada postajete svjesni da ste nešto propustili, niste shvatili u potpunosti i listate knjigu da bi pronašli odgovore. Još uvjek sam pod utiskom svega, ponajviše stila koji mi se dopao, mada moram priznati da sam pomalo naslućivala ono nadrealno (ili možda posve realno) tokom čitanja. Kniga se može svrstati kao egzistencijalni politički triler ili filozofsko-psihološki distopijski roman sa kafkijanskim primesama. Meni se svidjela.

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-10 12:39

    It's an interesting read; the philosophical musings and references to philosophers took me back to Philosophy 101 in college. It reminded me of "Crimes and Misdemeanors," the film by Woody Allen, wherein each character represents a philosopher (the blind Rabbi is Aquinus 'the eyes of god'), and this book is similar. I tried to figure out which philosopher was represented by each character, and how the interaction propelled the protagonist. The plot is fast paced and flows well. The use of poetry is not facetious; it enhances the story. I enjoyed it, although I may be admitting my ignorance by saying I didn't really "get" the ending.

  • Steve
    2019-05-17 12:48

    Mid 1. A flawed attempt at writing a modern-day kafkaesque novel of self-discovery which really loses momentum at the halfway stage. Nicholson has almost written the literature version of cinema's current crop of movies which have self-absorbed western teenagers brought to a nightmarish reality in a repressive eastern european society. Basically, the characters are so shallow and one -dimensional, you simply don;t care about the outcome. Then the novel slips into a post-modern surreal ending which is meant to carry gravitas but simply doesn't

  • Sue
    2019-05-21 09:22

    I thought that the first couple of chapters describing the narrator of the story were excellent. He is 22 years old and describes himself as having an average degree from an average university. He doesn't have a job and spends most of his time in his room. On a whim he decides to go travelling with no particular destination in mind.From thence forward the story becomes more and more surreal and philosophical. I didn't really understand the ending I'm afraid. An enjoyable listen with lots of interesting musical and poetical references.

  • Lula
    2019-04-27 17:42

    If you like Kafka or dig existentialism you will love this book! It is well written, thought provoking, and more than a little disturbing. This is a brilliant book! I read it in a day but think about it still. This book is about the many ways people deal with an oppressive government: passive resistance, secret communities, art and education, and terrorism. Who causes change? Who are the bad guys? How do you end the circle of violence? A very meaningful book for the times we live in.

  • Charnee
    2019-05-16 13:37

    Philosophical and thought provoking in so many dimensions and its musical and poetic references make it a piece of art. In a nut shell, the story is written as a fast paced spy thriller with Paul Coelho meets Twilight zone. One might find more questions than answers and the ending may make you want to read it again but I will leave that personal journey to the reader. Pay attention the 1st time around and the story will all make sense.

  • ~ Els ~
    2019-05-08 13:44

    Op een avond begon ik deze roman te lezen en al gauw merkte ik dat ik niet meer kon stoppen, dat ik meegesleept werd. Wat een mooie zinnen rollen er uit Nicholsons pen en wat knap, zo schijnbaar moeiteloos als hij ernst met humor mengt, filosofie en avontuur bij elkaar brengt, balanceert tussen drama en ingetogenheid, de spanning weet op te voeren tot thrillerachtige proporties. Een prachtig boek, heel bijzonder in alle opzichten, een genot om te lezen!