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Bowl of Cherries [Hardcover]

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Item Number 255038  
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Item description for Bowl of Cherries by Millard Kaufman...

Falling in with a distracted Egyptologist after being kicked out of Yale, fourteen-year-old Judd Breslau is coerced by a reckless young woman whose misadventures eventually lead to his death sentence and incarceration in a southern Iraqi jail.

Publishers Description
Kicked out of Yale at age 14, Judd Breslau falls in with Phillips Chatterton, a bathrobe-wearing Egyptologist working out of a dilapidated home laboratory. There, young Valerie Chatterton quickly leads Breslau away from his research and into, in order: the attic, a Colorado equestrian ranch, a porn studio beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and a jail cell in southern Iraq, where we find him awaiting his own execution while the war rages on in the north. Written by a 90-year-old debut novelist, ex-Marine, two-time Oscar nominee, and co-creator of Mr. Magoo, Bowl of Cherries rivals the liveliest comic novels for sheer gleeful inventiveness. This is a book of astounding breadth and sharp consequence, containing all the joy, derangement, terror, and doubt of adolescence and modern times.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 5.9" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   McSweeney's
ISBN  1932416838  
ISBN13  9781932416831  

Availability  0 units.

More About Millard Kaufman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kaufman is a successful screenwriter/producer with Academy Award nominations for his screenplays. In addition, he is the creator of Mr. Magoo and has taught screenwriting at USC, UCLA, and the Sundance Institute.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

Reviews - What do customers think about Bowl of Cherries?

Even though teenage protagonist Judd Breslau enters Yale at the age of 14, loses his virginity to a sex goddess soon after, becomes a spy and gets sentenced to death in Iraq by ganching -- and that's just in the first 50 pages -- not much happens in "Bowl of Cherries," a lark of a novel that turns quickly into the literary equivalent of a forced march. You're going to have fun even if you don't enjoy it! The story opens with the prodigy Breslau in jail, awaiting death and relating the events that led to this point -- and I didn't care one bit. Now, it's not necessarily bad that a reader doesn't sympathize or identify with the narrator, but for a picaresque like this, which, by definition, asks the reader to join one character for the long haul, it certainly doesn't help that never once do you believe in Breslau or the character's voice. And I had a harder time accepting the lead female character, a vacuous object of desire whose big adventure involving kidnapping and "genital mutilation" is treated as a punchline. And then in the last two pages she inexplicably becomes a wise sage. The story behind the story is actually more entertaining than anything on the written page. Millard Kaufman, making his debut as a novelist, is over 90 years old, but you would be forgiven for imagining that "Bowl of Cherries" was written by one of those precocious under-30 writers fresh out of a workshop. You have to admire Kaufman's vigor and audacity. And you just know he had a ball dreaming up "Bowl of Cherries" and lived vicariously through his protagonist. Or, as Breslau declares, "America is the only country in the world where people are allowed more than one adolescence."
Clunky...  Apr 25, 2008
I had to stop reading this book it seemed the author was more concerned about using every obscure word ever written, than developing the plot. Reading it became a chore to navigate through the clunky sentences.
Bran-tastic  Jan 1, 2008
At times reading like T.C. Boyle's demented grandfather, or Kurt Vonnegut's bilious blood brother, Mr. Kaufman shows there is indeed a whole lot of life after Bad Day at Black Rock and Mr. Magoo. In "Bowl of Cherries," he has written an exuberant, world-weary, lecherous, political, poop-centric, howl-inducing, thought-provoking novel that does lose considerable steam after the first 100 or so pages, but still manages to pack more of a nonsensical, yet eerily-on-point punch than the work of satirists one third, or half, or any other fraction of his much-publicized age.
Much like a bowl of cherries ...  Nov 27, 2007
... not too sweet, and not too tart; but a delicious mouthful bursting with both. This novel reads as a fun, satirical frolic with plenty of unexpected twists. I found myself avidly enjoying each chapter like a ripe cherry on a late summer's eve. There is a plentitude of $5 words which can lead you off on fun tangents of exploration in your handy dictionary; or like I did, one can underline them and return like a squirrel to a nut for an autumn's eve of scholarly study. So it is that Kaufman indulges the reader with language that so very unfortunately is no longer enjoyed in these rat-race days of terse and abbreviated, instant-messaging intercourse. With such an eloquent use of vivid language, the lucid nonagenerian author dresses English in its Sunday best and parades it, as if to presage us, the younger readers, to rage, rage against the dying of the light and not allow our language to languish to the pathetic destitution of nothing more than mere pulp fiction and text messages. So, enjoy the show!

To have a little more fun and learn more about Kaufman (and even Mr. Magoo!), you can visit the NPR website and search for a bowl of cherries to find his Weekend Edition interview with Scott Simon.
Something of a Let Down  Oct 17, 2007
I saw this in the book store and read the first few pages and it sounded interesting. But as usual with McSweeney's Books, what looks good outside is usually filled partially with half baked ideas and a lot of extra stuffing to reach the right page count.

The story jumps all over the place but ultimately goes nowhere. Fart jokes take the place of any real incite and ultimately the author just doesn't have an ear for prose. Random, four dollar words are dropped into the middle of sentences, making nay flow or sense vanish. I'm all for expanding my vocabulary but if I have to stop and look up a word every other sentence to know what is going on, it's just not worth it.

With a little editing and another draft, this could be a really great book but as usual, McSweeney's put all the effort into the package and not enough into the content.

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