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Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?: A Novel (2019)

af Brock Clarke

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
7522279,048 (3.35)3
"A story in which anything and everything can happen, and mostly does. This is a book of many trips--across oceans, back to the past, and, most profoundly, into the infinite deep space of the human heart. Brock Clarke has given us a wonderful novel that bursts with all the meaty stuff of real life." --Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk   Calvin Bledsoe's journey begins with the death of his mother. An internationally known theologian and an expert on all things John Calvin, she had been the dominant force in her son's existence, so much so that he never left home--even when he married--and, as a result, never grew up. At his mother's funeral, Calvin is introduced to his aunt Beatrice, a woman he had not even known existed. Beatrice immediately makes it clear to Calvin that she is now in charge of his life, and the first thing she is going to do is whisk him off to Europe with her for a grand adventure. As Calvin and his aunt traverse the continent, it becomes apparent that her clandestine behavior is leading him into danger. Facing a menagerie of antiquities thieves, secret agents, religious fanatics, and an ex-wife who is stalking him, Calvin begins to suspect there might be some meaning behind the madness. Maybe he's not the person he thought he was? Perhaps no one is ever who they appear to be? But there's little time for soul-searching, as Calvin first has to figure out why he has been kidnapped, why his aunt has disappeared, and who the hell burned down his house in Maine. Powered by pitch-perfect dialogue, lovable characters, and surprising optimism, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? is a modern-day take on Graham Greene's classic Travels with My Aunt, a novel about grabbing life, and holding on--wherever it may take you.… (mere)
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» Se også 3 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 24 (næste | vis alle)
This book was initially compelling and well written but became annoying less than half-way through. The same joke becomes trite if repeated too often as was the case here. The writing was too glib and vapid for my taste and the characters were annoying or wholly dislikable. I dragged myself to the end but really couldn't care less about what happened to anyone in the story, one way or another. ( )
  wordbyword | Apr 26, 2021 |
Made it 40% through, but it just didn't connect with me. Random stuff happening is hard to care about. Didn't hate it, but didn't feel invested enough to continue. Abandoned. ( )
  RandyRasa | Feb 24, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The premise of the story is that a cipher of a human being, Calvin Bledsoe, who'd never managed to get out of his small town, his parents' home, or his mother's shadow, gets whisked away on a pell-mell European vacation with his strange aunt and somehow by the end turns into himself. It's a Virgin's Promise rather than Hero's Journey trajectory, and inspired in part by Graham Greene's "Travels with My Aunt."

I have often wished that literary novels would actually occasionally have a plot. Now I'm feeling the old adage, "be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it." There is certainly more action here than in your usual plodding but plotless literary novel. However, most of it feels unearned. I had the feeling that the author was imitating the out appearance of action/adventure/caper-type genre novels without actually understanding what makes them tick. The breathless reveals don't really startle or delight because there is too much non-linearity overall. I can get the point of an absurdist novel, but an absurdist novel that is still trying to have a coherent plot falls between two stools.

Added to that were, what seemed to me, an undue number of cliches. The primary was is the cold-hearted mother who also happens to be a big fan of John Calvin. Though a theologian myself, I'm no particular fan of John Calvin, but I'm also no particular fan of using that well-worn trope. A lot of Calvin is quoted in the book; it made me kind of sad to think of the author so immersing himself in a figure he evidently despises. And only to create yet another version of the same damn thing. Not to mention the tired cliche of the wild old woman, the criminals being the good guys, the clergy being the bad guys, everyone having sex with everyone else.

I had no trouble reading the book; it had enough push, if not exactly pull, to keep me going. But I think in the end I kept going because I kept expecting an overturning of the cliches, and in the end all I got was confirmation of them. What a pity.
  SarahEHWilson | Dec 22, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Calvin Bledsoe, son of a high school coach and a dour Calvinist minister, has a quiet life as a blogger. His very boring job is to extol the virtues of pellet stoves by making up stories that have little in common with reality. Then an unknown aunt enters his life, and she is a force that cannot be reckoned with. So he is off on adventures, all due to his very manipulative aunt.

This novel is a bit of a train wreck, or rather, like looking at one. Calvin just lets life wash over him. You just want to yell at him to take some control, grow up, be an adult, and quit depressing me. It is an entertaining book in a rather sad way. I liked Calvin but am eternally grateful I am not Calvin.

There was a bit that was too graphic for my tender sensibilities, but I can deal with that. Some very bizarre circumstances that left me a bit unsettled. But mostly I was just sad that the fictional Calvin has such a hard tine finding himself. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Dec 6, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, and I found myself very pleasantly surprised! This odd coming-of-age tale revolves around the almost fifty year old Calvin, whose life is in major upheaval after his mother's death. The zany plot and the quirky characters were very engaging - there were even some laugh out loud bits! I recommend this entertaining book to anyone who wants something truly out of the ordinary. ( )
  MsNick | Oct 24, 2019 |
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"A story in which anything and everything can happen, and mostly does. This is a book of many trips--across oceans, back to the past, and, most profoundly, into the infinite deep space of the human heart. Brock Clarke has given us a wonderful novel that bursts with all the meaty stuff of real life." --Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk   Calvin Bledsoe's journey begins with the death of his mother. An internationally known theologian and an expert on all things John Calvin, she had been the dominant force in her son's existence, so much so that he never left home--even when he married--and, as a result, never grew up. At his mother's funeral, Calvin is introduced to his aunt Beatrice, a woman he had not even known existed. Beatrice immediately makes it clear to Calvin that she is now in charge of his life, and the first thing she is going to do is whisk him off to Europe with her for a grand adventure. As Calvin and his aunt traverse the continent, it becomes apparent that her clandestine behavior is leading him into danger. Facing a menagerie of antiquities thieves, secret agents, religious fanatics, and an ex-wife who is stalking him, Calvin begins to suspect there might be some meaning behind the madness. Maybe he's not the person he thought he was? Perhaps no one is ever who they appear to be? But there's little time for soul-searching, as Calvin first has to figure out why he has been kidnapped, why his aunt has disappeared, and who the hell burned down his house in Maine. Powered by pitch-perfect dialogue, lovable characters, and surprising optimism, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? is a modern-day take on Graham Greene's classic Travels with My Aunt, a novel about grabbing life, and holding on--wherever it may take you.

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