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Half Life: A Novel
Half Life: A Novel
Half Life: A Novel
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Half Life: A Novel

Valutazione: 3 su 5 stelle



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“Ingenious, sensual, gleeful. . . . It demands of its readers only imagination, and rewards them with hilarity, terror, and marvels.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn

Nora and Blanche are cojoined twins. Nora, the dominant twin, thirsts for love and adventure, while Blanche has been asleep for nearly 30 years. Determined to shed herself of her her sister’s dead weight, Nora leaves for London in search of the mysterious Unity Foundation, which promises to make two one.

But once Nora arrives in London, the past begins to surface, forcing her into a most reluctant voyage into memory—a search for meaning and understanding, that will push Nora to the brink of insanity. Grotesque, funny, and dazzlingly told, Shelley Jackson’s first novel is an imaginative and touching portrait of two lives in a cleft world yearning for wholeness.

Data di uscita13 ott 2009
Half Life: A Novel
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Shelley Jackson

Shelley Jackson is the author of the short story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy, the hypertext novel Patchwork Girl, several children's books, and "Skin," a story published in tattoos on the skin of more than two thousand volunteers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Valutazione: 3.2142857142857144 su 5 stelle

28 valutazioni9 recensioni

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  • Valutazione: 4 su 5 stelle
    This is very much a Sliding Doors type of narrative, where half is based on truth, half on speculation. For the most part, the two storylines are distinct, but they were close enough in some content that I sometimes couldn't remember which variation a particular event happened within. Overall, an enjoyable read.
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    This novel explores a historical "what if" that really resonated with me - what if Marie Curie had stayed in her native Poland and married a different man? In alternating chapters, the story plays out. The historical Marie goes to Paris, meets and marries Pierre Curie, and together they pursue groundbreaking scientific research. The imagined Marya marries a budding mathematician, they struggle to make ends meet, Marya pursues her education but it's limited and many years before she can take formal courses and do any kind of research. Both women ponder, at times, their own choices and happiness, wondering if different paths were open to them. Overall, I really loved this book, I appreciated the questions it asked of the reader, and the story it presented.
  • Valutazione: 4 su 5 stelle
    Fascinating concept--what would Mme. Curie's life have been had she decided to marry the young man to whom she had been engaged instead of going to Paris and studying science? The author attempts to answer this question in alternating chapters: Marie with her life progressing as in reality and the Marya chapters positing her possible life had she chosen to stay in Poland and marry.
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    I cannot praise Jillian Cantor enough for her book, "Half-Life". The what "was" and what "might have been" theme of this novel is mesmerizing. Jillian blends fact and fiction so seamlessly that sometimes it is hard to tell which is which. Different loves and tragedies develop in both lives. There is no such thing as a "perfect" life. There is, however, happiness in each life. One must cling to all the love, hope, happiness, and outright joy that each day of our lives brings for (to?) us. Throughout the novel Marie/Marya remain true to themselves and who they are deep down inside. They strive to be the best person they can be and live their lives fully. Everyone must read this book.
  • Valutazione: 3 su 5 stelle
    I enjoyed this book when I first started. I got right into it and was excited to go with the story. The world they lived in was interesting but at times I felt like there was way too much imagery. There would just be whole paragraphs between plot points where it was nonstop imagery. It felt too stilted. I skimmed through most of it and still easily got everything there was about the story. At the end, when she started to go insane, I was done.

    It started great but went downhill into a twisted mumbly roller-coaster and then rushed an ending in the last half-page. Very frustrating.
  • Valutazione: 1 su 5 stelle
    This is the co-winner of the Tiptree this year, so I expected a lot more from it. The book is set in a world very similar to our own, except with more nuclear explosions and a population of conjoined twins large enough to have their own lobby groups. Nora is uncomfortable sharing her body with her conjoined (but perpetually unconscious) twin, Blanche, so she resolves to get Blanche surgically removed. I really love the idea of having two brains and thus, two personalities and two sexualities to a body, but the book doesn’t explore this. Instead, it focuses on Nora’s childhood in the desert, where she had quirky, twisted adventures in the radioactive dunes. By the end, Nora and the novel have lost all touch with reality—which is fun except for the fact that it’s completely unreadable. This book is the written equivalent of the last twenty minutes of “2001”—I’m sure *something* “deep” is going on, but I’m not sure what and mostly I just feel bored and nauseated.
    I actually feel insulted that Jackson expected readers to slog through hundreds of pages of self-congratulatory cleverness, with no discernable plot and unlikeable, unrealistic characters.
  • Valutazione: 2 su 5 stelle
    Okay, so this won the Tiptree award, which is usually a good indicator of something interesting.

    And it is an interesting idea: that there are a lot more conjoined twins in the world (because of radioactivity or something), so they've become a vocal minority like gay people.

    Except that this is pretty much the ONLY idea in the book, and sure it's fun to imagine all the many, many different aspects of gay culture that could apply to conjoined twins, but you can't write a symphony using just one note.

    Also, she seems to be a victim of Look-At-Me-I'm-A-Writer! syndrome. For example:

    "Once, I plunged my right hand wrist-deep in a red ant den. Blanche did not move or cry, though a sun boiled at the end of that arm. I was the one who yanked out the swollen pentapod, brushed off the myrmidons sleeving our forearm in fire."

    Jeez, lady. Calm down.