Paperback, 306 Pages
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When a patron of the arts named Serge loans him a luxurious penthouse apartment in central Paris, Howard can’t believe his luck. Now he can live cheaply while he translates articles for shortlived websites and doomed art journals nobody reads. And he’ll have more time to devote to his inscrutable French girlfriend, Delphine, a trainee lawyer. Then, disaster strikes, in the shape of Eugene, Howard’s half-brother and personal nemesis, who sows chaos and discord wherever he goes. Abruptly, Howard’s uneventful life is plunged into mystery and farce. People are suddenly not what they seemed, and danger lurks in every restaurant. Serge himself is implicated in wrongdoing, while Giles, an Englishman abroad and seldom sober, knows more than he’s prepared to tell. Farewell Olympus is about love and rivalry, ambition and morality, Armageddon and the quest for the perfect croissant. Witty, intelligent and entertaining, it will make you feel you are too, even if... More > you have no experience of volleyball.< Less
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Jun 17, 2018The first tantalising paragraph of this novel sets the scene for its interwoven themes of assumed identities, variable interpretations of appearances versus reality, and the written word versus reality. Authors' motivation for writing, and publishers' motivation for publishing, are robustly challenged. The writing is ultimately assured, plot lines expertly played out and interwoven, and the characterisation a delight. The book is also very funny... Characters and the tangled, sometimes dangerous situations they find themselves in are drawn in with a light, erudite and always witty touch. Cultural allusions are there, but almost entirely constrained to appearances on characters' t-shirts. Seeing the novel's other characters through Howard's unique lens is unfailingly entertaining. The complexity of family dynamics and possibility for one person to be many things to different people is beautifully illustrated by the different but equally pertinent telephone ringtones Howard and his... More > brother choose for the same family member. Howard's understanding of the female sex is hopelessly at sea in some regards, coming closer to reality in others, but whether deluded or accurate his perceptions seem only to hinder rather than advance him. (His dress sense may be a factor here, too). Howard's almost pathological idealization of the women closest to him means, intriguingly, the reader is called upon to fill in the blanks when it comes to those characters and their motivations. There is limitless entertainment to be found in the men - brother and perpetual goad Eugene, English drunk and bibliophile Giles, affable and unaccountably rich Serge, and the off-stage but oppressive figure of Howard and Eugene's father. Set in Paris in the summertime, Farewell Olympus is a thriller, comedy and love story. It does include the quest for the perfect croissant, as the author has it, but also the quest for understanding, courage, white teeth and true love. I challenge anyone not to enjoy it.< Less
Jun 15, 2018Farewell Olympus is the tale of two opposites who definitely don’t attract. Buried family resentments quickly resurface when Eugene arrives uninvited at Howard’s smart Parisian apartment with a worryingly large number of bags and the paranoid air of a man with something to hide. Is he harbouring a terrible secret? Or is his furtive behaviour another elaborate ploy to subvert Howard’s literary and romantic ambitions? Jack Messenger’s novel skilfully uses the literary device of the doppelganger or “evil twin” and adapts it in unexpected and humorous ways. Howard, a meticulous, somewhat prim author with a tendency to overthink his amorous relationships, sees his orderly life thrown into chaos by the spectacularly self-involved Eugene, who airily unleashes havoc and confusion wherever he goes. Both men become entangled in a series of increasingly perplexing (to Howard) romantic mishaps and bizarre conspiracies. Both have a fondness for martinis and a quirky taste in T-shirts. Droll and... More > acerbic, chatty and ironic, Howard and Eugene are an odd couple who blend together in perfect (dis)harmony. Jack Messenger has a sharp ear for comic dialogue and a keen sense of the absurd. Characters speak in unreasonably calm tones that nicely contrast the novel’s incongruities. Indeed, one of the book’s primary pleasures for me is the witty banter back and forth as the two main characters strive for linguistic dominance. But there is so much else to enjoy in this hugely entertaining and elegantly written tale, which deftly combines romance, mystery, suspense, philosophy and politics with a riotous measure of farce. A tantalizing treat. I thoroughly recommend it.< Less
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- Jack Messenger (Standard Copyright License)
- First Edition
- Greyhound Press
- May 17, 2018
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.14 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
- Product ID
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