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The Autograph Man

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 22 May 2003
From the MAN BOOKER PRIZE- and WOMEN'S PRIZE-SHORTLISTED author of Swing Time, White Teeth and On Beauty

'A pleasure from the first page to the last' Evening Standard

'A glorious concoction by our most beguiling and original prose-wizard' Independent on Sunday
'Full of humour, the search for love and the fear of death... A touching, thoughtful, deeply felt rite-of-passage novel' Sunday Telegraph
The Autograph Man follows one Alex-Li Tandem: a twenty-something Chinese-Jewish autograph dealer turned on by sex, drugs and organised religion. From London to New York, love to death, fathers to sons, Alex tries to discover how a piece of paper can bring him closer to his heart's desire. Exposing our misconceptions about our idols - about ourselves - Zadie Smith delivers a brilliant, unforgettable tale about who we are and what we really want to be.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780140276343
ISBN-10: 0140276343
Pagini: 432
Ilustrații: line illustrations
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 26 mm
Greutate: 0.31 kg
Ediția: New ed.
Editura: Penguin Books
Colecția Penguin
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom

Notă biografică

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia, and a collection of essays, Changing My Mind, and editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. White Teeth won multiple awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Extras

CHAPTER ONE

You’re either for me or against me, thought Alex-Li Tandem, referring to the daylight and, more generally, to the day. He stretched flat and made two fists. He was fully determined to lie right here until he was given something to work with, something noble, something fine. He saw no purpose in leaving his bed for a day that was against him from the get-go. He had tried it before; no good could come from it.

A moment later he was surprised to feel a flush of warm light dappled over him, filtered through a blind. Nonviolent light. This was encouraging. Compare and contrast with yesterday morning’s light, pettily fascist, cruel as the strip lighting in a hospital hallway. Or the morning before yesterday morning, when he had kept his eyes closed for the duration, afraid of whatever was causing that ominous red throb beneath the eyelids. Or the morning before that, the Morning of Doom, which no one could have supposed would continue for seventy-two hours.

NOW OPTIMISTIC, ALEX grabbed the bauble that must be twisted to open blinds. His fingers were too sweaty. He shuttled up the bed, dried his left hand on the wall, gripped and pulled. The rain had come in the night. It looked as if the Flood had passed through Mountjoy, scrubbed it clean. The whole place seemed to have undergone an act of accidental restoration. He could see brickwork, newly red-faced and streaky as after a good weep, balconies with their clean crop of wet white socks, shirts and sheets. Shiny black aerials. Oh, it was fine. Collected water had transformed every gutter, every depression in the pavement, into prism puddles. There were rainbows everywhere.

Alex took a minute to admire the gentle sun that kept its mildness even as it escaped a gray ceiling of cloud. On the horizon a spindly church steeple had been etched by a child over a skyline perfectly blue and flatly colored in. To the left of that sat the swollen cupola of a mosque, described with more skill. So people were off to see God, then, this morning. All of that was still happening. Alex smiled, weakly. He wished them well.

IN HIS BATHROOM, Alex was almost defeated by the discovery of a sequence of small tragedies. There was an awful smell. Receptacles had been missed. Stuff was not where stuff should be. Stepping over stuff, ignoring stuff, stoic Alex turned to the vanity mirror. He yanked it towards him by its metal neck until its squares became diamonds, parallelograms, one steel line. He had aged, terribly. The catch in his face, the one that held things up, this had been released. But how long was it since he had been a boy? A few days? A year? A decade? And now this?

He bared his teeth to the mirror. They were yellow. But on the plus side, they were there. He opened his Accidental eyes (Rubinfine’s term: halfway between Oriental and Occidental) wide as they would go and touched the tip of his nose to the cold glass. What was the damage? His eyes worked. Light didn’t hurt. Swallowing felt basic, uncomplicated. He was not shivering. He felt no crippling paranoia or muscular tremors. He seized his penis. He squeezed his cheeks. Present, correct. Everything was still where it appears in the textbooks. And it seemed unlikely that he would throw up, say, in the next four hours, something he had not been able to predict with any certainty for a long time. These were all wonderful, wonderful developments. Breathing heavily, Alex shaved off three days’ worth of growth (had it been three days?). Finishing up, he cut himself only twice and applied the sad twists of tissue.

Teeth done, Alex remembered the wear-and-tear deposit he had paid his landlord and shuffled back to the bedroom. He needed a cloth, but the kitchen was another country. Instead he took a pillowcase, dipped it in a glass of water and began to scrub at the handprint on the wall. Maybe it looked like art? Maybe it had a certain presence? He stepped back and looked at it, at the grubby yellow outline. Then he scrubbed some more. It didn’t look like art. It looked like someone had died in the room. Alex sat down on the corner of his bed and pressed his thumbs to his eyes to stop two ready tears. A little gasp escaped him. And what’s remarkable, he thought, what’s really amazing, is this, is how tiny the actual thing was in the first place. This thing that almost destroyed me. Two, no, maybe three days ago he had placed a pill on his tongue, like a tiny communion wafer. He’d left it there for ten seconds, as recommended, before swallowing. He had never done anything like this before. Nothing could have prepared him! Moons rose, suns fell, for days, for nights, all without him noticing!

Legal name: Microdot. Street name: Superstar. For a time it had made itself famous all through his body. And now it was over.


From the Hardcover edition.

Recenzii

“Intelligent. . . . exquisitely clever. . . . an ironic commentary about fame, mortality, and the triumph of image over reality.” —The Boston Globe

“The same bracing intelligence and salty humor that distinguished her debut. . . . Smith scatters marvelous sentences and sharp insights on nearly every page.” —LA Times

“A lovely surprise. Zadie Smith . . . has come out with a second book that is actually better than its predecessor: its dialog funnier, its language even more plugged in, more wired.” —Esquire

“A preternaturally gifted . . . writer [with] a voice that’s street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time.” –The New York Times

“Savvy, witty and exuberant.” –New York Daily News

“Smith is young and smart, and . . . she proves to be an amazingly gifted writer.” –Washington Post Book World

“Smith writes sharp dialogue for every age and race–and she’s funny as hell.” –Newsweek

“[Zadie Smith] possesses a more than ordinary share of talent.” –USA Today

“Absolutely delightful.” –Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune

“Smith’s clever, aphoristic observations and snappy dialogue are so delightful they tend to become addictive. . . . [The Autograph Man is] always entertaining.” –Elle