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Kleinzeit

By (author) Russell Hoban
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage Publishing, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Jonathan Cape Ltd
Published: 21st Mar 1974
Dimensions: w 140mm h 200mm
ISBN-10: 0224009648
ISBN-13: 9780224009645
Barcode No: 9780224009645

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Kirkus UK
Russell Hoban was born in Pennsylvania and worked as a copywriter before abandoning it all and spending the last 40 years holed up in London writing novels. When Hoban puts pen to paper, what comes together is a powerful mix of Robert Graves mythology, Ursula K LeGuin sensibility, Kurt Vonnegut irreverence, Joycean wordplay liberally mixed with a copywriter's wry wit and Pythonesque humour. If you think that this novel will be hard to put down you're dead right. Written in 1973, it charts the thoughts of a copywriter who finds himself out of a job and in a hospital. It is of course a little more than that. The Ancient Greeks thought that the trick to remembering anything was to forget. Without forgetting, remembering was a new invention. Forgetting, then, is in itself an entire discipline and its rules are so well hidden that it borders on an art form. Moreover it is an art form practised only by sane minds, or at least those which refuse to be bound by artificial limitations. This is exactly why remembering features so heavily in Kleinzeit. The eponymous hero says it often to himself; his shaving mirror says it to him; the moon says it to anybody; an imaginary man says it to any who dream him; an obscure musical instrument can say nothing else; and God says it to a girl but tries very hard not to mean it. Through all these disparate threads united (or separated?) by an act of memory, Hoban weaves a story which captivates the mind, fires up the intellect and jolts the imagination, opening doors into mental dimensions many of us have artfully forgotten about. When Kleinzeit makes the discovery that we are all dying in varying degrees he faces the imperative to act before it's too late - an imperative which gives him the courage to capture the heart of a beautiful nurse called Sister. Together they embark upon a journey which will culminate in an unexpected visit by Death - only this time the visit is social and Death has a present! To understand all this all you have to do is... remember. (Kirkus UK)
Kirkus US
A light little novel in the '60's boom style that established paranoid schizophrenia as the writer's Disneyland and a pleasantly sharable social ground. This is generically perfect point by point: Kleinzeit, a sacked London ad writer, also newly divorced and stricken with pain in the hypotenuse, is drawn to Hospital (which coos telepathically through his dreams) and there takes up with Sister, his two-ply whore/madonna night nurse who talks detachedly with God. He also, by mysterious means, gets involved with a hippy/derelict who haunts the Underground (which also talks to Kleinzeit) scattering blank sheets of yellow paper. . . . This yellow paper is to Kleinzeit what WASTE was to whomever it was in Lot 49; Kleinzeit's wardmates, with names like Flashpoint, have had equally unique and peculiar experiences that all have fallen in the way of doom, and whatever is now going on (involving Kleinzeit who is now busking with a glockenspiel in the tubes, sister, and the Dirty Chimpanzee Death) has precedents as far back as Orpheus. Most aspects of this point to other precedents of the last decade, and the driftiness and damned inherent sweetness seem to be vaguely parodying them all. Hard to tell. (Kirkus Reviews)