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Prisoner's Dilemma Powers, Richard ( Author ) Apr-12-1996 Paperback (Anglais) Broché – 12 avril 1996

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The first indication that Pop had been seeing something more than heebie-jeebies for all those years came a few weeks before the end, when the old guy leaned over to Artie on the front porch of an autumn evening and said, distinctly, "Calamine." Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
We Must TRUST One Another Or Die. 9 novembre 2001
Par Zachary Pearson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
There is no better way to sum up this novel than to steal from W.H. Auden. The first time through this book, I knew there was a wealth of power and beauty hiding underneath it. Perhaps this is a novel that you have to read at a vulnerable time. Perhaps events such as September 11th compel me to say to those of you who will read this review in the future "Read this book to someone you love and weep with them for the world we now inhabit. We have relinquished our own ability to see the magic inherent in the world." If, during the Grand Inquisitor scene in The Brothers Karamazov, Jesus deigned to respond to the questioner, this is perhaps what he would have said. It is a novel that attempts to free us from the gated enclaves of the suburbs, the fear and nightmare of double deadbolts, the paranoia of opening mail. Eddie Hobson, Sr. is a man who feels that he must take on the burden of everyone else's mistrust, no matter the personal consequences. He is reduced to speaking in symbols, the better to convey all the aching meaning he feels for his family and the world. He, who is the least physically able, warps his entire family to his side, forcing them to relive his transformation from naive child of the midwest to one who has seen the Brave New World brought about by anonymous men in secret offices. This novel is multi-layered, complex, and deep in ways that make this, IMHO of course, the best explanation of the American Experience since WWII. It's better than Delillo's Underworld by quite a way, and if, you want to escape from the realizations Powers forces upon you, there's always Chapter 11. Everyone's had their own version of Chapter 11, and it is gorgeous. I wanted to call people last night while reading it, just to share the wonder and beauty of it with someone. Fantastic novel, fantastic author, this book chides us with the realization that the only way out of the self-imposed isolation we've managed to hide ourselves in is to fight it every day.
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A fascinating story of micro vs. macro 28 septembre 2001
Par Jake Mohan - Publié sur
Format: Broché
If you're reading a novel which endeavors to link the lives of a Midwestern family in the late-1970s, World War II-era homefront politics, and Walt Disney, then you're going to want someone competent at the helm. On a superficial level, Richard Powers must be the man, since he's got a genius grant from the MacArthur foundation. Furthermore, he's adroitly constructed even grander Novels of Ideas like Galatea 2.2 and The Gold Bug Variations. His name inevitably comes up when critics are discussing the important young writers responsible for narrating our foray into the next millennium, along with William T. Vollman, David Foster Wallace, and Rick Moody-the "tall white male writers," as Wallace once put it.

But it took me a while to see what makes Prisoner's Dilemma the sprawling, history-rewriting novel of ideas it's been hailed as. For the first fifty pages or so, it reads like a comfortably traditional family novel reminiscent of Anne Tyler-which it is, on one of its multiple planes. But then Powers starts throwing in pseudo-factual flashbacks to the forties, with Walt Disney making wartime propaganda films (which he actually did, though not in the scope this novel suggests) and young Eddie Hobson (Sr.'s) eventual appearance in this surreal historical thread.
In less capable hands, Prisoner's Dilemma would probably come off as very, very formulaic, and just plain all-been-done-before boring. What rescues it? Well, for one, Powers' prose is beautiful and compelling. This alone should save the novel from complete damnation. The language during the italicized wartime passages is omniscient and confident, assuring us we're in capable hands as we struggle to understand-via Artie, via Eddie Sr., via ... Mickey Mouse?-the monstrosity that was the Great War. The language during the chapters set in 1978 is, by comparison, rather objective, but it still has plenty of intrusive third-person commentary inserted, lending an existential lushness to such simple acts as setting the table or playing catch in the backyard. This refusal to take for granted the mundane characterizes Powers' treatment of the Hobsons' dilemma, and, in turn, Eddie Sr.'s life. The mysterious illness that ravages Eddie and confounds his family is a physical manifestation of the ongoing battle within Eddie-a relentless tension between the Big Picture and the plight of the individual. The universal struggle to understand how one little person can matter in the midst of an incomprehensibly vast cosmos-a dilemma we all experience at some point-is magnified and played out continually in Eddie to such an extent that it precludes his ability to function adequately in the "outside" world.
The question of how humanity copes with the mounting onslaught of technological chaos is addressed repeatedly throughout Powers' narrative. During World War II, Powers recognizes that one of the greatest curative forces for Americans dealing with the war was, as it still is today, entertainment. In this case, the salve is Mickey Mouse and the whole Disney enterprise, enjoying its original heyday during the late thirties and early forties. Whole chapters are devoted to the role Disney played in the war, especially in the plight of the thousands of Japanese Americans interred Stateside. More generally, Powers describes Disney's function as a very early incarnation of the white noise in which we swaddle ourselves, in an attempt to keep out the horror we know is occurring out there: "[Mickey Mouse's] immense popularity must come from our learning, in a few years, how to ignore things that would have frozen previous generations with total horror" (98). Personified, as it is here, by such a congenial persona as Mickey Mouse and the rest of his Disney pals, it's hard to see how white noise could be all that bad. And Powers makes it clear that our relationship to the noise is ambivalent. We need it, and as much as we might decry it in attempts to elevate ourselves to more enlightened planes of world-awareness, we like taking refuge in Disney movies, or any incarnation of the entertainment noise we prefer. If the escapist quality of entertainment blossomed with Disney, and continued to grow throughout the seventies, when Artie is speaking, we in 2001 hardly need to be reminded how powerful and pervasive a mixed blessing it is now. Think of the samizdat in Infinite Jest that entertains its viewers into comas. Or, more immediately, consider the ways in which our country will-and already has-use pop culture as a psychological salve for the trauma of September 11.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An entertaining, thoughtful, and well-constructed novel. 1 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
At the urging of many friends, I finally picked up a novel by Richard Powers; I will never regret the long hours I spent reading and digesting The Prisoner's Dilemma. Although the plot is not as tightly-woven or as compact as I hoped, that is my only real (but minor) complaint about this book. Powers weaves an amazing tale that is both grandiose and haunting. The most skillful aspect of The Prisoner's Dilemna is the way in which Powers accurately represents the relationships between siblings. Having several siblings myself, I appreciate the delicacy with which Powers approaches these characters. Of course, the fact that the novel's plot and theme are virtual mind-trips is also a pleasing touch. This is an entertaining, thought-provoking, emotional, intellectual, and creative piece of fiction. I hope that the rest of his novels are as good or better than this; those I will be happy to give a full five stars!
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Individual striving run amok 7 décembre 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Taking its title (and part of its story) from the well known group dynamics exercise of the same name, this novel asks us to examine what extreme individualism and self-sufficiency has done to our modern world. It beautifully examines the disintegration of one man as he recognizes the limits of personal initiative and education and the corrosive effect this disintegration has on his family. In a time when our so-called leaders play to our basest and most selfish instincts, this novel asks us to see the real need we have to be able trust each other and work cooperatively for the common good. Powers delivers this message in a fascinating and cleverly written work with complex characters with which we can identify and about whom we care. This is a book well worth reading.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Exquisitely touching, in an erudite sort of way 27 juillet 1999
Par Gavin Kentch - Publié sur
Format: Broché
It seems that Powers is setting out to bring order to the whole world, and with "Prisoner's Dilemma" he brings the tangled fields of sibling relationships and ailing parents under his masterful control. As his fourth work that I've read I begin to see increasing number of similarities, ranging from mundane to profound, but all of them seem aimed at exploring the small corner of the world with which the given book is concerned. Here Powers does so expertly and movingly, drawing on decades' worth of American history while telling the story of one family caught therein. A worthwhile read for anyone concerned about the state of our country, families therein, or modern writers.
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