The Teleportation Accident
- Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date:
- 19 July 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-3 out of 3 reviews.
The best new novel I've read so far this year, The Teleportation Accident will be released in the United States this February. It is also perhaps the best blurb-description of a novel I've ever read and worth reproducing in full since I personally could not do this much justice to a summary/tease:<i>"HISTORY HAPPENED WHILE YOU WERE HUNGOVERWhen you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid.From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.LET'S HOPE THE PARTY WAS WORTH IT"</i>The Teleportation Accident is hilarious, fascinating, moving and spellbinding. It mostly covers the 1930s and 1940s, mostly in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles. But the political situation is buried deep in the background as the protagonist is almost completely indifferent to politics (the closest he comes is a funny scene where he joins a Nazi book burning, thinking it is performance art and also relishing the chance to burn a book about his social scene that made the egregious faux pas of omitting him entirely). Instead it is portrays the cultural life, especially theater, and parodies the many hangers on that world.While scene by scene it is like a madcap improvisation, it also has a plot that keeps you engaged and a thematic coherence.I will certainly be moving Beauman's other book, "Boxer, Beetle", up to the top of my to read list.
This is a book about the epistemology of the finite - how little an individual can know or see of the whole. The opening explicitly connects accidents, women and allusion. It is this triumvirate that underpins and moves the story along. Its components repeat throughout in the various set-piece chapters, as does the idea of teleportation - be it as set design, time travel, geographic relocation or transportation systems. My own favourite interpretation of the title is as a pithy comment on the act of reading - it is something that can transport the reader, almost by accident, to another time and place. There are many jump-cuts and edits in the book that bring this effect about in the mind of the reader (Brechtian, Heideggerian). This is a witty, clever and intelligent book. The downside? - a tendency to sprawl just a little too much.
This is such an unusual book; what is it really about? Is it really about the Teleportation Device invented by of the 17th century Venetian inventor Lavicini, a event shrouded in mystery and intrigue? Is it about the attempts of various scientists to recreate Lavicini’s teleportation device for use in WW2? Or is it really just the story of Egon Loeser’s failing life, his failure to have the girl of his dreams, his failure to have any sex at all, or even find a new copy of his favourite pornographic book, his failure to understand anything of what is happening in his Berlin hometown, becoming a `refugee’ by accident.I honestly do not know. The Teleportation Accident is as perplexing as it is confusing as it is strange. I was more than halfway through before I had any idea at all what was happening, or even begin to really get inside the story – was there a story? I still can’t tell you that there was. What story there was mainly about Loeser’s attempts to bed the girl of his dreams, who seemingly sleeps with every man she meets except poor Loeser. And what on Earth was the last chapter about? I ended up feeling it was best not to question anything but simply enjoy the glittering ride.I loved the characters, Egon Loeser especially, who is wonderfully ineffectual, lazy and useless. His story flits and leaps through time and space by means of a linguistic style that is gymnastic, elastic, brilliant. The massive cast of characters are delightfully mixed and strange. It’s a sort of comic novel, I think – I’m pretty sure, it seemed very funny to me; calling the love interest (with shades of The Dangerous Brothers) ‘Adele Hitler (no relation)’ was a typical example of this book’s genius.There are many wonderful quotes I could use to illustrate Ned Beuman’s extraordinary style but will settle for:`That wasn’t actually Brecht by the way, said Achleitner. `It was Vanel, but he happened to be wearing one of those long red overcoats like Brecht always wears.’`So where was there all that commotion by the door?’`It turned out he had a corkscrew on him.’In short, I enjoyed it enormously. I still haven’t a clue what it was about.
Reviews provided by Librarything.
No reviews here.