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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 Oct 6, 2009
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.read more
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Daniel Handler rocks. I am stalking him across the globe. I had a chance to see him in Wales for the Guardian’s Hay on Wye literary festival both as Lemony Snicket (or more accurately in place of Lemony Snicket) and as Daniel Handler. I also saw him in Seattle for a Mcsweeney’s fundraiser where he had Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service fame) Sarah Vowell (“Assassination Vacation”) and Colin Meloy (the Decemberists) act out a play about his life. He was fantastic on each occasion. He is one of a new breed along with fellow Mcsweeney’s friends Dave Eggers, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Safran Foer, to name a few, who can write serious literate novels, that are also fresh, funny, witty, and playful.I haven’t yet read Handler’s earlier two ‘adult novels’ (that makes them sound like porn, but it is really just an annoying tag given to novels written by people who also write kid’s books), but Adverbs is an excellent novel. The prose is playful and fun, there is a lot of wordplay and humour, and colourful phrasing, but there is also a lot of heart. The characters are deftly portrayed and are brought fully to life. The book is a set of short stories each titled with an adverb and are about love in some form. The characters all move in and out of each other’s stories as they criss-cross the US and fall in and out of love. Though not all of the characters who have the same name are the same person. It would take a careful and exacting read to truly sort out who is who and who knows who and who loves or loved who. But each of the stories are well written and engaging. The characters are lively and fun, and also depressing or creepy, and often sad (how could you write a book about love without sadness?). But they are always real, and always compelling. There are a lot of pop culture in jokes strewn through the pages, and the book manages to be funny and serious at the same time. No mean feat these days. This is a great collection of stories that also reads as (and is indeed titled as) a novel. This is a rich, warm, funny, and all round excellent book. My stalking will continue. In fact I will see him again this week (finally in my home town) appearing in place of Lemony Snicket. No doubt he will not disappoint.read more
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I HATED THIS BOOK. HATED. I was hoping that I'd like it - Daniel Handler is also known as Lemony Snicket, and it seemed promising. Turns out is has no plot, the vignettes barely tie together, and NOTHING HAPPENS. I didn't care about any of the characters, the reader is given no reason to invest in them emotionally, and he's got this weird thing about magpies. The prose was pseudo-intellectual: at times it read like free-form poetry and I found myself wondering if it was just beyond my comprehension, but then I remembered that I'm really smart and I read A LOT and realized it's not me, it's that the book is badly written. It SUCKS. Reading this book was like a hate fuck. God DAMN I hated it, but I was going to finish it if it killed me. I'm done, and now I'm burning it. Stupid fucking book.read more
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Intriguing prose; Recommended readingread more
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Love love love love love love love love. Let no one say it has no place in a modern story. This "novel" is a collection of related stories in which characters appear and reappear at different times in their lives; post-apocalyptic fables like those I lived through in college. Think Kris Kristofferson songs if Kris went to Santa Cruz for college in the mid-nineties. -Steveread more
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From the looks of it, I think I am the only one who didn't fully enjoy this one. Then again, I've never read any Lemony Snickett, and this one was received as an ARC and I was "forced to read it." :)Passed along through BookCrossingread more
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It's okay, a little bit rambling and pompously awkward in places. I like the unique structure and the cleverly titled chapters. There is one very touching story out of the many in this book.read more
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I’m not sure what to say about this book – it is kind of odd and quirky, although I expected this from the man who writes children’s books under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket. However, I found the Snicket books quirky in a darkly humorous but understandable way. In this case, a lot of the book had me scratching my head, furrowing my brow, and say “huh?” The book is a collection of short (sometimes very short) stories supposedly about love (some I would argue are more about friendship or other topics than romantic love). The stories themselves are mostly oddly humorous, with the occasional pathos thrown in for good measure. What had me confused was trying to figure out how, if at all, the stories were all connected. You see, Handler would often repeat names for characters over and over again, and it was hard to tell when this was the same Andrea, for instance, as a previous story or a brand new one. If it appeared to be the same character, it was hard to tell where this story fit in relation time-wise to the other story about the seemingly same character. “Truly,” in my opinion, belonged as either the first or last story of the bunch, instead of just thrown in the middle, as this story seemed to give the most explanation for what the book was trying to do. Overall, I enjoyed the quirky humor, but I would have preferred if there was one coherent story or a bunch of completely unconnected stories rather than the bizarre, possibly related string of stories presented.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book lost me at first, and then gathered up steam in the middle, then tapered off a little at the end. It's really interlocking stories - except that the characters are sometimes the same and sometimes not. Their history is sometimes the same and sometimes not. But it came full circle, in a way, at the end and wrapped up much more neatly than I expected.Each chapter is named for an adverb, which features obliquely in the story. The conceit is rather annoying. Many are fantastical, like the mock noir of the Snow Queen in a diner. Others are realistic, like the high school boy pining for his fellow movie theater usher. All meditate, a bit preachily, about the nature of love.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
About the most self-conscious collection of stories one could hope to run across. What begins as playful literary hooliganism ends in a pseudo-masturbatory po-mo-rama.That said, it was rather enjoyable as those things go.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I just read in someone else's review of this that Daniel Handler hangs out in the McSweeney's secret lair and cavorts with Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) and Colin Meloy (of Death Cab for Pirates).That sounds about right.This book is not dissolute and confusing because it serves its theme. It is dissolute and confusing because Mr. Handler was too busy sorting through his filing cabinet of one-liners and prefab situational jokes to surround them with anything resembling a novelIf he ever decides to put the work in, he'll probably write a good novel.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Adverbs was written by Daniel Handler, better known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, of A Series of Unfortunate Events. His style is quite different in his works as Handler than as Snicket, which was very stylized to begin with. To appreciate the book, you have to be willing to accept that there are a lot of characters and you will get the names confused. You can go back and try to figure out who's who (I made a chart) but that isn't necessary. I found this book to be surprisingly moving and honest, at least when it comes to the way love can feel. There is a lot of dark humor and some suspension of reality is involved: a ten year old boy and the Snow Queen fall in love over frozen calimari, and San Francisco, as it turns out, was actually built on top of a volcano. Fans of Lemony Snicket will dig this.It seems that many of the other reviewers disliked the short story style, and the lack of connection. However, if you don't sweat the details and simply enjoy the ride, this is a great book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Episodic at best, this really reads like a series of in jokes. I felt that it suffered from characters and plot lines that may or may not have been continuous throughout the book. Still, it was amusing in some spots, but overall, I was kind of confused.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A book that rather reminds me of Julian Barnes' "A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters", Adverbs is generally very skilfully written and offers some great insights about love. At times the links seem a little forced and a little obvious.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
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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.read more
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A "friend" recommended this book. I am still attempting to plow through it. .. Like his Lemony Snicket alias better.read more
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In the Series of Unfortunate Events books Daniel Handler achieves a unique, and remarkably pleasing, voice. In this book, he fails utterly.read more
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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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Daniel Handler rocks. I am stalking him across the globe. I had a chance to see him in Wales for the Guardian’s Hay on Wye literary festival both as Lemony Snicket (or more accurately in place of Lemony Snicket) and as Daniel Handler. I also saw him in Seattle for a Mcsweeney’s fundraiser where he had Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service fame) Sarah Vowell (“Assassination Vacation”) and Colin Meloy (the Decemberists) act out a play about his life. He was fantastic on each occasion. He is one of a new breed along with fellow Mcsweeney’s friends Dave Eggers, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Safran Foer, to name a few, who can write serious literate novels, that are also fresh, funny, witty, and playful.I haven’t yet read Handler’s earlier two ‘adult novels’ (that makes them sound like porn, but it is really just an annoying tag given to novels written by people who also write kid’s books), but Adverbs is an excellent novel. The prose is playful and fun, there is a lot of wordplay and humour, and colourful phrasing, but there is also a lot of heart. The characters are deftly portrayed and are brought fully to life. The book is a set of short stories each titled with an adverb and are about love in some form. The characters all move in and out of each other’s stories as they criss-cross the US and fall in and out of love. Though not all of the characters who have the same name are the same person. It would take a careful and exacting read to truly sort out who is who and who knows who and who loves or loved who. But each of the stories are well written and engaging. The characters are lively and fun, and also depressing or creepy, and often sad (how could you write a book about love without sadness?). But they are always real, and always compelling. There are a lot of pop culture in jokes strewn through the pages, and the book manages to be funny and serious at the same time. No mean feat these days. This is a great collection of stories that also reads as (and is indeed titled as) a novel. This is a rich, warm, funny, and all round excellent book. My stalking will continue. In fact I will see him again this week (finally in my home town) appearing in place of Lemony Snicket. No doubt he will not disappoint.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I HATED THIS BOOK. HATED. I was hoping that I'd like it - Daniel Handler is also known as Lemony Snicket, and it seemed promising. Turns out is has no plot, the vignettes barely tie together, and NOTHING HAPPENS. I didn't care about any of the characters, the reader is given no reason to invest in them emotionally, and he's got this weird thing about magpies. The prose was pseudo-intellectual: at times it read like free-form poetry and I found myself wondering if it was just beyond my comprehension, but then I remembered that I'm really smart and I read A LOT and realized it's not me, it's that the book is badly written. It SUCKS. Reading this book was like a hate fuck. God DAMN I hated it, but I was going to finish it if it killed me. I'm done, and now I'm burning it. Stupid fucking book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Intriguing prose; Recommended reading
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Love love love love love love love love. Let no one say it has no place in a modern story. This "novel" is a collection of related stories in which characters appear and reappear at different times in their lives; post-apocalyptic fables like those I lived through in college. Think Kris Kristofferson songs if Kris went to Santa Cruz for college in the mid-nineties. -Steve
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
From the looks of it, I think I am the only one who didn't fully enjoy this one. Then again, I've never read any Lemony Snickett, and this one was received as an ARC and I was "forced to read it." :)Passed along through BookCrossing
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It's okay, a little bit rambling and pompously awkward in places. I like the unique structure and the cleverly titled chapters. There is one very touching story out of the many in this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I’m not sure what to say about this book – it is kind of odd and quirky, although I expected this from the man who writes children’s books under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket. However, I found the Snicket books quirky in a darkly humorous but understandable way. In this case, a lot of the book had me scratching my head, furrowing my brow, and say “huh?” The book is a collection of short (sometimes very short) stories supposedly about love (some I would argue are more about friendship or other topics than romantic love). The stories themselves are mostly oddly humorous, with the occasional pathos thrown in for good measure. What had me confused was trying to figure out how, if at all, the stories were all connected. You see, Handler would often repeat names for characters over and over again, and it was hard to tell when this was the same Andrea, for instance, as a previous story or a brand new one. If it appeared to be the same character, it was hard to tell where this story fit in relation time-wise to the other story about the seemingly same character. “Truly,” in my opinion, belonged as either the first or last story of the bunch, instead of just thrown in the middle, as this story seemed to give the most explanation for what the book was trying to do. Overall, I enjoyed the quirky humor, but I would have preferred if there was one coherent story or a bunch of completely unconnected stories rather than the bizarre, possibly related string of stories presented.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book lost me at first, and then gathered up steam in the middle, then tapered off a little at the end. It's really interlocking stories - except that the characters are sometimes the same and sometimes not. Their history is sometimes the same and sometimes not. But it came full circle, in a way, at the end and wrapped up much more neatly than I expected.Each chapter is named for an adverb, which features obliquely in the story. The conceit is rather annoying. Many are fantastical, like the mock noir of the Snow Queen in a diner. Others are realistic, like the high school boy pining for his fellow movie theater usher. All meditate, a bit preachily, about the nature of love.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
About the most self-conscious collection of stories one could hope to run across. What begins as playful literary hooliganism ends in a pseudo-masturbatory po-mo-rama.That said, it was rather enjoyable as those things go.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I just read in someone else's review of this that Daniel Handler hangs out in the McSweeney's secret lair and cavorts with Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) and Colin Meloy (of Death Cab for Pirates).That sounds about right.This book is not dissolute and confusing because it serves its theme. It is dissolute and confusing because Mr. Handler was too busy sorting through his filing cabinet of one-liners and prefab situational jokes to surround them with anything resembling a novelIf he ever decides to put the work in, he'll probably write a good novel.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Adverbs was written by Daniel Handler, better known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, of A Series of Unfortunate Events. His style is quite different in his works as Handler than as Snicket, which was very stylized to begin with. To appreciate the book, you have to be willing to accept that there are a lot of characters and you will get the names confused. You can go back and try to figure out who's who (I made a chart) but that isn't necessary. I found this book to be surprisingly moving and honest, at least when it comes to the way love can feel. There is a lot of dark humor and some suspension of reality is involved: a ten year old boy and the Snow Queen fall in love over frozen calimari, and San Francisco, as it turns out, was actually built on top of a volcano. Fans of Lemony Snicket will dig this.It seems that many of the other reviewers disliked the short story style, and the lack of connection. However, if you don't sweat the details and simply enjoy the ride, this is a great book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Episodic at best, this really reads like a series of in jokes. I felt that it suffered from characters and plot lines that may or may not have been continuous throughout the book. Still, it was amusing in some spots, but overall, I was kind of confused.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A book that rather reminds me of Julian Barnes' "A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters", Adverbs is generally very skilfully written and offers some great insights about love. At times the links seem a little forced and a little obvious.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
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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.
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A "friend" recommended this book. I am still attempting to plow through it. .. Like his Lemony Snicket alias better.
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In the Series of Unfortunate Events books Daniel Handler achieves a unique, and remarkably pleasing, voice. In this book, he fails utterly.
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