Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (Aug 2011)

atochaIf you’ve ever lived as an ex-pat, you’ve gotta read this novel.  You will see yourself in Lerner’s descriptions of the ex-pat community in Spain, even if it’s not particularly flattering.  And if you’ve ever tried to learn a foreign language, you will crack up at the riffs on misunderstood dialog.  Let us count the myriad ways that we can fail to grasp what is being said to us in a language we hang on to by our fingernails.  It’s also a good reminder of how hard it is to become fully fluent in English.  Hence, an appropriate sympathy for immigrants.  This novel is also about the art world, poetry, pretensions, feeling like a fraud, drugs, the nature of intimacy, how lies impinge on our relationships . . . there’s a lot here.  It’s literary fiction that is relatively easy to read and often humorous.  It’s not light, but it is short.  It’s not a novel that will appeal to everyone.  But I thought it quite brilliantly written.


About Cheryl McNeil
I am the User Services Librarian at the Orangeburg Library in Orangeburg, NY

One Response to Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (Aug 2011)

  1. john851 says:

    As usual, Cheryl, your review has piqued my interest. Reading your words bring to mind some embarrassing moments in Japan during a two week long vacation when I made a true muddle of attempts at communication. So, I think that this book should prove quite interesting. Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts…and for reading so many books!!

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