Autograph Man

Autograph Man

A Novel

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
3
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We live in a world of signs. But not everybody has to trade in them.... Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs. A small blip in a huge worldwide network of desire, his business is to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them, and occasionally fake them--all to give the people what they want: a little piece of Fame. But what does Alex want? Only the return of his father, the reinstatement of some kind of all-powerful, benevolent God-type figure, the end of religion, something for his headache, three different girls, infinite grace, and the rare autograph of forties movie actress Kitty Alexander. With fries. The Autograph Manis a deeply funny existential tour around the hollow things of modernity: celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. Through London and then New York, searching for the only autograph that has ever mattered to him, Alex follows the paper trail while resisting the mystical lure of Kabbalah and Zen, and avoiding all collectors, con men, and interfering rabbis who would put themselves in his path. Pushing against the tide of his generation, Alex-Li is on his way to finding enlightenment, otherwise known as some part of himself that cannot be signed, celebrated, or sold.
Publisher: New York, NY : Random House : 2002
ISBN: 9780375501869
037550186X
Branch Call Number: FIC Smit
Characteristics: 347p

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tritonesub Jul 09, 2016

Beautifully written, the book charts an unpredictable path involving a half-Chinese man, a cat, a dog, an aging actress, Rabbi, insurance man, a lovely young woman with a heart problem and many more. All the characters are depicted with such warmth and compassion. They stay with you. One note: try to get the print version and NOT the Kindle version. The illustrations and other hand-written parts of the book do not come out well on Kindle. This is a book to be read on paper.

c
cheriemoses
Jun 06, 2015

Zadie Smith has a knack for good writing. This book however contains so many digressions, many so opaque and idiosyncratic passages that the book reads in a choppy fashion. The miserable character Alex resolves nothing; his story becomes tedious, and Zadie obscures the text with the abovementioned digressions by writing cryptic asides that no longer keep this reader absorbed. Very disappointing. I did read it to the end.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Zadie Smith's sophomore book, the Autograph Man, deserves your reading attention. Londoner Alex-Li Tandem buys and sells autographs for a living. He is mired in the emptiness of his 30-something generation X values: movies, fame and symbolic artifacts divorced from experience. The reader wants to encourage Alex-Li as he clumsily attempts to seek something real.

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