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by Martin Corrick

Download By Chance: A Novel fb2, epub

ISBN: 0375508139
Author: Martin Corrick
Language: English
Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
Pages: 240
Category: Genre Fiction
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 644
Size Fb2: 1709 kb
Size ePub: 1577 kb
Size Djvu: 1963 kb
Other formats: lit lrf doc rtf


By Chance is an unforgettable novel that combines intelligence with emotion, and lingers in the mind. Praise for Martin Corrick’sThe Navigation Log: Deeply moving.

By Chance is an unforgettable novel that combines intelligence with emotion, and lingers in the mind. This remarkable first novel owes the maturity of its tone. to an elegiac vision that reaches beyond death to powerful network of connections that encircle the present and the past. An author whose debut novel,The Navigation Log, garnered him comparisons with Waugh and Maugham, Martin Corrick now returns with a story even more dazzling. By Chanceis both suspenseful and thought-provoking, a philosophical tale that is rivetingly readable. Praise for Martin Corrick’s The Navigation Log: Deeply moving.

The term Great American Novel (GAN) refers to a canonical novel that is thought to have captured the spirit of American life. These novels are generally written by Americans and deal in some way with the question of America's national character. The Great American Novel is sometimes considered America's equivalent of the national epic. There is no consensus on which novel or novels deserve to be called the Great American Novel

Into the breach steps, Martin Corrick with By Chance, not with an existential spiral of doom and gloom, but with a bright shining light of a novel.

Into the breach steps, Martin Corrick with By Chance, not with an existential spiral of doom and gloom, but with a bright shining light of a novel. As Corrick slowly reveals his philosophy with Bolsover’s meandering trips through memory, Bolsover changes and moves ever close to the heart of what it means to be human. Counterpoising a teacher’s tirade about the meaning of tragedy with Bolsover’s understanding of the important difference between luck and chance, Corrick reveals an important truth.

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An author whose debut novel, The Navigation Log, garnered him comparisons with Waugh and Maugham, Martin Corrick now returns with a story even more dazzling. By Chance is both suspenseful and thought-provoking, a philosophical tale that is rivetingly readable. The events that resulted in Bolsover's presence at the Alpha Hotel are closely related to his memories of his wife.

Martin Corrick’s first novel, The Navigation Log, was steeped in the details of its period and place (England from 1918 to 1940). It gave voice to the first half of the 20th century in snatches of song and idiom and history, abounding in the stories we love to hear, no matter how often they’re repeated, of World War II, the blitz, the . The twin brothers at the center of the story weren’t very vivid, but their social and historical.

Yesterday I read Martin Corrick’s By Chance. There is so much here in just 229 pages, so much for me to think about for a long time. I have to think about how Corrick presents. Yesterday I read Martin Corrick’s By Chance. I have to think about how Corrick presents words: words are a key character in this book.

Corrick’s affectionate depiction of a small English life sometimes recalls Mark Haddon, but the book also features surreal, symbolic touches. Its cast of enigmatic characters includes a ship’s captain, a young roller-blader and a birdwatcher. The parable-like tale concludes as Bolsover firmly steps toward the future, with all its uncertainties and possibilities.

An author whose debut novel, The Navigation Log, garnered him comparisons with Waugh and Maugham, Martin Corrick now returns with a story even more dazzling. By Chance is both suspenseful and thought-provoking, a philosophical tale that is rivetingly readable.“The events that resulted in Bolsover’s presence at the Alpha Hotel are closely related to his memories of his wife.” James Watson Bolsover is an apparently normal middle-aged man, a shy yet soulful engineer turned technical writer who for many years shared a passionate marriage with his lovely wife, Katherine. Bolsover’s wife and his deep interest in his work made his life perfect, but then–by chance, misfortune, bad luck–he lost Katherine and, with her, his innocence. Now he travels by sea to a remote island and checks into what seems to be an ordinary hotel; in this safe haven he hopes to understand the past and start afresh. But we quickly discover that all of the hotel’s occupants, like Bolsover himself, have uncertain histories: All of them are “someone else,” seeking to leave their former lives behind.As Bolsover grows accustomed to his new surroundings–and close to a new woman–the truth of his life trickles out like blood from a wound. He is not quite the simple fellow he seems, but a man who has carefully shielded his own history not only from others but also from himself. Culpability, identity, morality, and luck–all these play a part in a story that echoes our own lives. Writing in terse, elegant, and irresistible prose, Martin Corrick proves himself a new British master. By Chance is an unforgettable novel that combines intelligence with emotion, and lingers in the mind. Praise for Martin Corrick’s The Navigation Log:“Deeply moving . . . This remarkable first novel owes the maturity of its tone . . . to an elegiac vision that reaches beyond death to [a] powerful network of connections that encircle the present and the past.”–The New York Times Book Review“The main delight of this book is its loving re-creation of time and place. Corrick has an uncanny ability to enter into the life of the thirties and to draw out details that reveal both the sweetness and the blandness of country life.”–Baltimore SunThe Navigation Log flies like an arrow, swift and true. You may weep, but you will also thrill.”–James Salter, author of Last Night“Corrick’s ear for dialogue . . . adds humour and pace to the account of parallel lives in the realms of earth and sky.”–The Times Literary Supplement“Carefully crafted in the manner of Waugh and Maugham . . . rich with period ambience and dry wit.”–Publishers Weekly

Comments:

Avarm
This was a very clean former library copy. Binding was tight and the pages were very clean. Seemed to be brand new except for the library identification.
Drelahuginn
I loved Martin Corrick's "By Chance". The narrator, James Bolsover, is a man enthralled by words and the power of words to create order out of chaos. He believes that words and the names we give to things, the list we put things on and the definitions we give them, help us through the muddle of existing. The power of words. He uses words to create understanding, both of difficult technical issues (he is an engineer) and of the really big questions, like tragedy (Bolsover struggles to define it), seduction (and desire: Bolsover struggles more) and culpability (the biggest struggle of all for our Bolsover: how much is anything our fault? Too much in some ways, too little, in others). Bolsover uses words most charmingly when he creates a beautiful, fictional place to allow his wife to bloom, much as she creates a garden to allow her flowers space and light and air to bloom. But what happens when words fail? Perhaps that is the definition of tragedy.

Early inthe book, Bolsover asks "If fiction is not concerned to understand, what is its subject? Is its purpose merely to pass the time?" No, the purpose of great writing -- and reading great books -- is most definitely to understand. Corrick is clearly a man of words and a righteous preacher for their power. A great writer has the the power to cobble together words and deliver to us, the readers, a new way of seeing and hearing and understanding. Great writing brings things together, to mesh (borrowing a word used in By Chance at different points) different ways of looking at something into a cohesive and yet unique and distinct way of looking at everything.

Corrick delivers what readers want with every beautiful sentence and each fully rounded thought, in his completely articulated vision and his perfectly realized (and very real) characters, and even in the half-wisps of this and that he throws out via Bolsover's roving thoughts, wisps that add up in the end to a conclusion reached well before poor old Bolsover climbs the hill.

Words alone are not enough, though. Here enters "chance." Corrick shows us that the opposite of tragedy is the chance occurrence of a human reaching understanding through words: we reach glory, grace, peace, through understanding. Corrick writes of the birds having wings, and using them to fly, that is why they have wings. And we have emotions and understanding; we have hearts to feel and brains to read with, and that is how we fly.

There is a plot twist in By Chance and I don't love twists generally. Nor did I find this twist necessary: Bolsover would have gotten to his bench on the hill overlooking the ocean regardless. His questions and his searchings for the way to fix things runs up against the absolutely unfixable fact of death. Afterwards he feels guilt, twist or not twist. It is human, frailly and beautifully so, to feel guilt when someone dies. Guilt that we did not do enough for them when they were alive, guilt that we did not fight hard enough for their survival or that we fought the wrong way, guilt that we are still alive and desiring and wanting more life. Twist or no twist, Bolsover reaches his conclusion on the hill by chance but not really: there is no chance that such a thinker as he is could not reach the conclusion that he does. Corrick writes so beautifully and convincingly and easily, like the best poetry really, that I could take his plot twist and like it too.

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Taun
Corrick provides the reader with a supply of twists and turns that cause one to pause and think about what if that happened to me? Bolsover is a guy who seems to observe life and yet determines to engage in it when it comes to women. He studies his need to connect with other human beings and seeks to answer the deep questions of life which he learns only lead him to more questions rather than any answers. I do not read many novels since I am a nonfiction reader, but this book caught my eye. The character development of Bolsover reminded me of Anne Tyler's characters who seek to find a balance between engagement and contemplations over life. We just drop into Bolsover's life where he is and then drop out when he's done with us.
Gholbirius
This elegant novel starts slowly, but the reader should pay attention to each unfolding detail, for when the full story is exposed, it is a revelation. Corrick writes in the contemplative style of John Banville, of Grahame Swift -- he creates a story that is deceptively simple that evolves into something different altogether. The enigmatic details are disclosed slowly, but the narrative never drags. At 230 pages, it is deceptively slim, but packs more whallop per page than many other books twice its length.
Aradwyn
It's everything the reviewers before me wrote. What an unexpected treat of a book. Excellent writing, fresh ideas, philosophical without being dense.
INvait
I was taken aback for a good portion of this book. It's so... Well, 'playful' at the beginning. Or 'whimsical'. Or, 'wonderfully skewed'. However you choose to describe it, you can't help but be intrigued by what might lay ahead, given such a start.

What's ahead is a satisfying read. Quirky in places, sombre in others...but all the way through, a great writer telling a unique tale.

I won't give away anything here plotwise, it's best to go in cold, but I will say that this slim read fills you up nicely.

Highly recommended to those for whom character studies 'rather than a careening plotline' appeals.

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