Reviews - What do customers think about The Ambidextrist?
Compassionate, funny and haunting Mar 30, 2004
I'm a bit surprised by the PW and LJ reviews of this book, at least the negative aspect of them. It was probably the best book I'd read last year. Rock's writing has matured from his prior two books, both of which were really good, into something far more compassionate, if simultaneously haunting and desolate. But more than simply a narrative strewn with the picaresque, or flatly dark, this book has a great beauty to it, a formal elegance binding three downtrodden narrative lives within the same general fictional and geographical turf. Simlarly astonishing is Rock's prose and his knack for dialog--for capturing the said and the intended in as few words as possible. If being allowed to look into lives and motivations that are perhaps unlike your own is unpleasant, or icky, or sinful or whatever, then, yeah this book probably isn't for you. If, however, getting a real jolt from a young writer who has the emotional maturity of someone generations older, even if it means looking at the world as it goes wrong before your eyes, then do read this.
Serious Disappointment Jun 29, 2002
The Ambidextrist started out seeming like a good book. The concept was good. But that is where the positive stopped and the negative started. The book is a picture of inner city life in Philadelphia from the slums and homeless perspective. The plot is weak. The character development is flimsy. And the writing style is just one step above "pot boiler" mass market novels.
The book in no way can be labeled as literature. It seems like a piece whipped off in an afternoon. Very little depth to the characters and very low levels of description on just about any aspect of the book. Even the dialogue seems less than realistic. In fact, the only character in the book that was developed was that of the Schuylkill River, which the reader gets a pretty good feeling for throughout the book.
Otherwise, the reader's time would be infinitely better spent, reading "Native Son" by Richard Wright. That is a modern day classic where the characters are well developed and really ring true. If you truly feel a need to read Peter Rock's book, perhaps borrowing it from the library is better than spending the money to own it.
a minor masterpiece Mar 28, 2002
This is a novel about people trying to make connections, people on the margins looking in, people trying to reach outside of themselves, powerless people trying to feel strong. Unpretentious, understated, this novel elucidates what life is like for a community of disparate spirits who spend their time on the Schuylkill riverbank. I think it's a very relevant book for our times. It shows an aspect of the American spirit not often dwelled upon. Most of us are on the margins. Most of us are not the movers and shakers of corporate America. Most of us are confronted with our powerlessness everyday, and our salvation is the forging of connections with others like us.
mri Mar 20, 2002
I bought this book cause of the mri of the writer's head on the cover. it's good stuff though. reminded me of cormac mccarthy and denis johnson. the plot ain't much but who cares? the flayed prose's worth the price of admission. desolate's the word to describe this book except it's remarkably rich emotionally like a kenny roger's tune. i liked it alot. thank god for writers like peter rock.
My favorite new book of 2002 Feb 3, 2002
Once again, Peter Rock has fashioned a story that will haunt you long after you close the book. The writing is beautiful, as usual, for Rock. And the narrative takes such unexpected twists. A delight to read. It's like a Bunuel film set in inner city Philly. Highly recommended.