Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ostrich by Matt Greene

Genres : Coming-off-age, Young adult, contemporary, satire, fiction 
Formats: Paperback( 336 pages), Kindle, Nook, 
Publishing date: August 27th 2013 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN 0345545214 (ISBN13: 9780345545213) 
Edition language: English 
Purchase links: Amazon Barnes & Noble 

Amazon Book Blurp: 
Alex has a story to tell. He just doesn't know what kind it is yet.
He's got a lot of the same concerns most of us do growing up (exams, puberty and, in his case, a punctuation obsession plus a little quantum mechanics) but lately, ever since his brain surgery, everyone in his life is behaving more than a little mysteriously.
Maybe it's adjusting to life after epilepsy or maybe it's the pressure of his pending scholarship application, but Alex is starting to see the world through different eyes. He's certain there's something rotten at the heart of his parents' marriage, and when his beloved hamster Jaws 2 starts acting up as well he decides it's time to investigate.
So begins the journey that takes him to the limits of his understanding, the edge of his endurance, the threshold of manhood, and the country music aisle in Virgin Megastore. And eventually, on the eve of his English Composition exam, to the door of his mother's home-made dark room. But will Alex have the courage to expose the terrible secret that lies beyond? Or would it be better for everyone if he buried his head in the sand?

"I already know what it's like to feel ostrichized, which is a better word for excluded (because ostriches can't fly, so they often feel left out).
Alex's epistemological view on life, on everything, would have me in stitches, even at five in the morning with the first cup of coffee in hand. His scientific approach to pornography had my laughter sound like a 1948-Fordson tractor with locked bearings - combustion inhibited by gaseous protests!
Talking about gas. "I attribute Mum's insomnia to her concerns about The State of Her Marriage. It can be helpful to use the word state when describing a marriage because it makes you think of the people involved as particles. Right now Mum and Dad's marriage is a gas."
I am sure he would have made Einstein proud as well (not only P.G.Wodehouse & Co).
Einstein : "How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there not some more valuable work to be done in his specialty? That's what I hear many of my colleagues ask, and I sense it from many more. But I cannot share this sentiment. When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching — that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not just their quick-wittedness — I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology. They happily began discussions about the goals and methods of science, and they showed unequivocally, through tenacious defense of their views, that the subject seemed important to them."
The wit and humor influences of P.G.Wodehouse, Woody Allen and alike is evident everywhere in this tragicomedy.
With everything the courageous young Alex went through, he never lost his sense of reason and his urge to dissect even the minced meat in his school lunch with a paint brush he borrowed from the Art department!
Mr. Sinclair: "Try and imagine your brain as an orchestra." ( I try, but it's difficult, because my brain is already a circuit board, a dog kennel, a water park, and a hostage negotiation.)"
Did Einstein fatally compromise himself? I think not. Not at all. And Einstein was also ostrichized by an educational system and society which could not accommodate his genius!
Before I venture too deeply into the epistomology about this book I should stop. Laughter can be deadly too, you know! If dissected, it becomes really a scary phenomenon! I'm sure Alex will agree with me!
Those staff members who taught Alex comment that his record of work was consistently good. They spoke to the keen interest and intellectual curiosity that he brought to the classroom. His written work was described as imaginative, fiercely logical, strongly argued, lucid, and unwaveringly grammatical. His command of concepts was confident and advanced."
That is what Alex and this book is all about. A skilfully crafted plot, a masterful tying together of all the detailed elements of the story line. It must have been quite a challenging novel to write. Thought-provoking - YES! Compassionate - YES!
BRILLIANT first novel. I am a fan forever!

Matt Greene was born in Watford in 1985 and studied English language at the University of Sussex. OSTRICH is his first novel.
Influences include: Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Joseph Heller, P.G. Wodehouse, J.D. Salinger, John Swartzwelder, David Foster Wallace, Richard Yates, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Lorrie Moore, John Kennedy Toole, and, of course, the Jewish Holy Trinity: Philip Roth, Woody Allen and Larry David.

No comments:

Post a Comment