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Oct 15, 2006



Last night I had a dream that I was secretly living in a bookstore, hiding from the people during the day and hanging out at night. I don't think I was a rat, though. Still, I guess I'm pretty excited Firmin being our pick this time around.

S.J. Flynn

I read this book, ok I started reading this book. In fact I helped choose it for a book club at a local chain bookstore because it sounded so interesting. I just couldn’t finish it. I liked the premise of the book, but I didn’t’ like the presentation. The extended metaphor of consuming books is great. “I noticed first that each book had a different flavor.” But I couldn’t stand being stuck in the rat’s head continuously. At times the book amounted to a showy display of all the books the author had ever read. I know it’s about the isolating worlds that reading and writing can become, but the presentation seemed incomplete as a strictly first person presentation.


You didn't mention the cool inky illustrations! I enjoyed this slim book a great deal.


This is one of the most thoughtful and entertaining novels I've read in a while. It's hard not to get caught up in the nostalgia of it. It's hard not to somehow feel for the perspective of a ... rat. How did he do that? I never cared for rats before. Whenever I read first rat narratives I tend to enjoy it more if I can identify with the protagonist; in this novel I really did. This rat is, well, very human. Curious, hard, hungry, perservering, critical, etc. I loved the literary references that I caught, and felt challenged by the ones I'm sure I missed. I also felt the outrage of the forgotten rats of the world, the ones that progress razes and paves over. Savage makes it clear that part of nature is that some things change and some do not.

Kevin Holtsberry

I got the book in the mail and plan to read it soon. Should be an interesting discussion.

Bill Ectric

I'm halfway thru the book and I love it!


Firmin has been chosen as one of the 3 finalists for the Discover New Writers Award in Fiction. It is Barnes & Noble's annual award given to new authors (one in fiction and one in non fiction). The winner will be announced at the end of the month.


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i like this part of the blog:"The books, however, are Firmin’s downfall, as apocalyptic in nature as Scollay Square’s sad fate and Magoon’s visions. Even from the onset, Firmin cannot settle upon a proper first line to describe his story. That Firmin himself boasts of gorging upon the books instead of understanding what’s inside them suggests a character willing to grope at anything to fight a terrible isolation that he is often vague or disingenuous about" is very good

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I've enjoyed reading the reactions to Bob's comment's about Obama's connection to deliberative politics and his references to the "common good." A recent New Yorker piece takes a similar position and contrasts Obama's "deliberative" style with Clinton's penchant for partisanship: See George Packer's "The Choice" in THE NEW YORKER (Jan 28, 08).

In these discussions about Obama, Democrats, and the common good, it is important to remember that
Michael Tomasky got the Democrats back on to the language of the "common good" with his article, "Party in Search of a Notion," from THE AMERICAN PROSPECT (April 2006).

This talk of the common good, from Tomasky's perspective may be completely in line with partisan politics and need not be identified with deliberation. See Tomasky's review of Krugman's new book, "The Partisan," in the NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS (54:18 Nov 22, 07).

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