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Hello.

I am Daniel Handler, the author of this book. Did you know that authors often write the summaries that appear on their book's dust jacket? You might want to think about that the next time you read something like, "A dazzling page-turner, this novel shows an internationally acclaimed storyteller at the height of his astonishing powers."

Adverbs is a novel about love -- a bunch of different people, in and out of different kinds of love. At the start of the novel, Andrea is in love with David -- or maybe it's Joe -- who instead falls in love with Peter in a taxi. At the end of the novel, it's Joe who's in the taxi, falling in love with Andrea, although it might not be Andrea, or in any case it might not be the same Andrea, as Andrea is a very common name. So is Allison, who is married to Adrian in the middle of the novel, although in the middle of the ocean she considers a fling with Keith and also with Steve, whom she meets in an automobile, unless it's not the same Allison who meets the Snow Queen in a casino, or the same Steve who meets Eddie in the middle of the forest. . . .

It might sound confusing, but that's love, and as the author -- me -- says, "It is not the nouns. The miracle is the adverbs, the way things are done." This novel is about people trying to find love in the ways it is done before the volcano erupts and the miracle ends. Yes, there's a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061983504
List price: $9.99
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I thought this book was beautifully written and very unusual. Each individual chapter was like a long prose-poem and could easily be read just by itself. The whole book also worked as a whole, with arcing issues and themes intertwined in every story. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, necessarily. It's not a particularly easy read - the plot (if there is one) is confused and it's very difficult to keep track of the characters - are they different people with the same name? Or are they the same people every time they show up? Doe it really matter? Couldn't they just be anyone? I do think it's a lovely and meditative book though. I really enjoyed reading it.more
This author is best known as the writer of the fun Lemony Snicket series of novels for children. I’ve read the first Lemony Snicket novel, and heard the audiobook narrated by Tim Curry, (I just love his voice!) and one day intend to read the rest of the series. The film, which combines the first three novels is immensely stylish and is a favourite at Gaskell Towers too. In these books, Handler has a fabulous and quirky narrative style, telling the story of the three Baudelaire orphans who have a series of unfortunate events happen to them.So after that preamble, you may be interested to hear that Handler has written some adult novels under his own name. You would also expect some off-beat humour and full-on quirkiness and Adverbs doesn’t disappoint.The novel is really a series of short stories, mostly linked, sharing characters and a timeline. Each chapter is titled with an adverb, which occurs physically in the text or in character in that story, including: obviously, particularly, briefly, naturally and symbolically to name a few. Do you know the parlour game Adverbs? You have to act in the style of a particular adverb for the others to work out – well this book is a bit like that!One of my favourite characters, Helena first crops up in the story Particularly in which she ends up working for her husband’s ex, teaching in a school …"She and her husband needed to buy things pretty much on a regular basis. This teaching job did not pay a lot of money, because, let’s face it, nobody gives a flying fuck about education, but it was a temporary position. Helena had been told it would last until the money ran out. From Helena’s experience, she would say the money was going to run out in about nine days.‘It’s a temporary position, like I told you,’ said Andrea, who had said no such thing. ‘Pretty much what happens is, you facilitate the creative expression part. You’re a creative expression facilitator. Get it?’Andrea was an ex-girlfriend of Helena’s husband, so she said ‘Get it?’ like one might say, ‘The same man has seen us both naked, and prefers you, bitch!’ ‘Of course I get it,’ Helena said, but she sighed.Things like this had not happened to her in England. She could not explain the difference, perhaps it was because there wasn’t one. Certainly England had castles, but Helena had not lived in them, although memories of her British life had become more and more glamorous the longer she hung out at hideous places like this."There’s a rich cast of characters who fall in and out of love, requited and unrequited, from a chivalric teenage crush to being immediately smitten with love at first sight. There are all kinds of love too, from full-on romantic to platonic, and ghostly too.Despite being called Adverbs, Handler doesn’t use many of them – I gather that using too many adverbs is considered bad form for proper authors – Elmore Leonard says, ‘Using adverbs is a mortal sin’ in his slim tome 10 Rules of Writing.Adverbs is also a strange book that happens to be full of magpies literally – it is obsessed with these colourful birds and their kleptomaniac character they crop up throughout as a kind of birdy glue – and dangle sentences at you like wonderful shiny jewels: "Love can smack you like a seagull, and pour all over your feet like junk mail."How fabulous is that! Like all proper good metafiction, Handler partially narrates the story, and crops up as himself too. His narration is similarly knowing as that of his alter-ego Lemony Snicket, intimating that he knows what will really happen and he’s not letting on. As he is so much an integral part of the novel perhaps, the female characters tend to dominate the rest, but they’re all interesting so that’s not a bad thing.It is also full of advice on life in general: "You have to be careful when you say what you like two weeks before your birthday. You say birds you’ll get birds. You say the new album by the Prowlers and you better not buy it yourself because it’ll be waiting for you in the bag from Zodiac records…"There was much I really liked about this book. At the risk of sounding like Forrest Gump, it was a little like a box of chocolates – I liked some stories and characters far more than others. However, the quirk factor was right for me, and the literary tricksiness was right up my street, so I will look out for more by this interesting chap.more
I may be one of the few people who really liked this book. It's not the best book in the world, sure. But it was the first grown-up Handler book I read, so that might make me a bit kinder toward it. It's a collection of interrelated short stories that collectively tell the story of a romance, or several romances. It doesn't really come together cohesively--but when has a relationship ever done that?more
In the Series of Unfortunate Events books Daniel Handler achieves a unique, and remarkably pleasing, voice. In this book, he fails utterly.more
Read all 20 reviews

Reviews

I thought this book was beautifully written and very unusual. Each individual chapter was like a long prose-poem and could easily be read just by itself. The whole book also worked as a whole, with arcing issues and themes intertwined in every story. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, necessarily. It's not a particularly easy read - the plot (if there is one) is confused and it's very difficult to keep track of the characters - are they different people with the same name? Or are they the same people every time they show up? Doe it really matter? Couldn't they just be anyone? I do think it's a lovely and meditative book though. I really enjoyed reading it.more
This author is best known as the writer of the fun Lemony Snicket series of novels for children. I’ve read the first Lemony Snicket novel, and heard the audiobook narrated by Tim Curry, (I just love his voice!) and one day intend to read the rest of the series. The film, which combines the first three novels is immensely stylish and is a favourite at Gaskell Towers too. In these books, Handler has a fabulous and quirky narrative style, telling the story of the three Baudelaire orphans who have a series of unfortunate events happen to them.So after that preamble, you may be interested to hear that Handler has written some adult novels under his own name. You would also expect some off-beat humour and full-on quirkiness and Adverbs doesn’t disappoint.The novel is really a series of short stories, mostly linked, sharing characters and a timeline. Each chapter is titled with an adverb, which occurs physically in the text or in character in that story, including: obviously, particularly, briefly, naturally and symbolically to name a few. Do you know the parlour game Adverbs? You have to act in the style of a particular adverb for the others to work out – well this book is a bit like that!One of my favourite characters, Helena first crops up in the story Particularly in which she ends up working for her husband’s ex, teaching in a school …"She and her husband needed to buy things pretty much on a regular basis. This teaching job did not pay a lot of money, because, let’s face it, nobody gives a flying fuck about education, but it was a temporary position. Helena had been told it would last until the money ran out. From Helena’s experience, she would say the money was going to run out in about nine days.‘It’s a temporary position, like I told you,’ said Andrea, who had said no such thing. ‘Pretty much what happens is, you facilitate the creative expression part. You’re a creative expression facilitator. Get it?’Andrea was an ex-girlfriend of Helena’s husband, so she said ‘Get it?’ like one might say, ‘The same man has seen us both naked, and prefers you, bitch!’ ‘Of course I get it,’ Helena said, but she sighed.Things like this had not happened to her in England. She could not explain the difference, perhaps it was because there wasn’t one. Certainly England had castles, but Helena had not lived in them, although memories of her British life had become more and more glamorous the longer she hung out at hideous places like this."There’s a rich cast of characters who fall in and out of love, requited and unrequited, from a chivalric teenage crush to being immediately smitten with love at first sight. There are all kinds of love too, from full-on romantic to platonic, and ghostly too.Despite being called Adverbs, Handler doesn’t use many of them – I gather that using too many adverbs is considered bad form for proper authors – Elmore Leonard says, ‘Using adverbs is a mortal sin’ in his slim tome 10 Rules of Writing.Adverbs is also a strange book that happens to be full of magpies literally – it is obsessed with these colourful birds and their kleptomaniac character they crop up throughout as a kind of birdy glue – and dangle sentences at you like wonderful shiny jewels: "Love can smack you like a seagull, and pour all over your feet like junk mail."How fabulous is that! Like all proper good metafiction, Handler partially narrates the story, and crops up as himself too. His narration is similarly knowing as that of his alter-ego Lemony Snicket, intimating that he knows what will really happen and he’s not letting on. As he is so much an integral part of the novel perhaps, the female characters tend to dominate the rest, but they’re all interesting so that’s not a bad thing.It is also full of advice on life in general: "You have to be careful when you say what you like two weeks before your birthday. You say birds you’ll get birds. You say the new album by the Prowlers and you better not buy it yourself because it’ll be waiting for you in the bag from Zodiac records…"There was much I really liked about this book. At the risk of sounding like Forrest Gump, it was a little like a box of chocolates – I liked some stories and characters far more than others. However, the quirk factor was right for me, and the literary tricksiness was right up my street, so I will look out for more by this interesting chap.more
I may be one of the few people who really liked this book. It's not the best book in the world, sure. But it was the first grown-up Handler book I read, so that might make me a bit kinder toward it. It's a collection of interrelated short stories that collectively tell the story of a romance, or several romances. It doesn't really come together cohesively--but when has a relationship ever done that?more
In the Series of Unfortunate Events books Daniel Handler achieves a unique, and remarkably pleasing, voice. In this book, he fails utterly.more
I am utterly and totally confused by this book. To start off this review, I think a quote from the author about this book would be appropriate.Quoth Handler "Yes, there's a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting." And there is a volcano in the novel, it seems to be one of his favorite things to talk about. In addition to this there is an abundance of birds, alcohol, and taxis.I'd like to provide a timeline and a list of characters but the story is so jambled it wouldn't make sense. The characters all reoccur during the novel but are so unmemorable you can't keep track of who's who. In addition, some seem to have mystical powers in what is otherwise, a realistic fiction type book.The novel is supposed to be about love, different forms and presentations of it. However, if Handler's love is supposed to be real love it scares me. Most of his characters are stalkerish in quality and their love is very superficial. There are several divorces, break ups, hook ups and just plain fake love. At the end it seems several of the female characters are pregnant and possibly this means another type of love to the author.Handler's writing style is very disjointed. I think he tries to be more flowery and "hip" with his writing than he needs to be. It jumps around so much that you just get lost and confused. The book, at 272 pages went on way too long for my tastes. If you like the odd and random type of book go ahead and read, otherwise I recommend spending your time on a better piece of literature.more
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