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The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (Anglais)

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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Paradise Lost 5 décembre 2004
Par Jennifer M - Publié sur
Format: Relié
We all dream of a better place. Be it the Garden of Eden or Thomas More's Utopia, the idea of a safe, sane, and just world has always captured the human imagination and striving for it has shaped human endeavor.

Esi Edugyan's debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (HarperCollins, anticipated publication 2004), chronicles one man's pursuit of his personal heaven. Fifteen years after his immigration from West Africa to Canada, Samuel Tyne is stagnating in a dead-end government job and foundering as a husband and father. When he inherits his uncle's Alberta mansion in the town of Aster, he moves there over the protests of his wife and twin daughters. Settled by former American slaves who fled to Canada, the once all-black Aster is fabled to be the place of second chances. But the Tynes encounter a much different reality. A mysterious arsonist is terrorizing the town and, as Samuel's daughters become increasingly unstable and aggressive, the hostile eyes of Aster all turn towards the Tynes.

For a first novel, penned at the age of 25, Edugyan's work is impressive, exploring as it does our deepest desires for community and a chance to fulfill our truest dreams. With an elegance unexpected in an artist so young, the author plumbs the tragedy of a paradise just shy of fulfillment and ponders whether our actions create our nature or if our nature determines our actions.

In many ways, Samuel's story is a brilliant vehicle for these questions. To have imagined a utopia unrealized may be worse the inability to imagine it at all. Edugyan seems, almost inadvertently, to have tapped into the idea that the capacity for such fantasy is the source of human misery and madness. However, at times, she skims the deeper issues like a flat stone skipping across the surface of a pond, as though she doesn't trust her own instinct to let the story take her where she wants to go.

Edugyan's style is hypnotic and mythical, reminiscent in some ways of Steinbeck in her striving for a sweeping human fairy tale. The drawback is characters that are often shallow and lacking specificity. The outlines are there and quite compelling, but the details which would allow us to access the soul of the Tyne family and the people of Aster are missing.

As a result, the tragedy of the novel is almost farcical in proportion. As their lives unravel, the novel's tone takes on a futility that surpasses the capriciousness of life itself and devolves into random, even pointless, destruction that fails to be moving precisely because the characters themselves are inaccessible. The Tynes' world doesn't just fall apart; it collapses in on itself to the point of silliness.

Still, like much debut work from fledgling artists who have the chops to become important novelists, Edugyan's first title is worth a read. Despite its flaws, it's an engaging and solidly-written tale from a fresh new Canadian voice.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Bleak, mostly unrewarding. 17 novembre 2004
Par algo41 - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Samuel Tyne is a novel with multiple themes, from the cultural conflicts of an African couple settling in an Alberta town, to the blight of dealing with psychotic children. Esi seems to delight in making situations just a little bleaker than they might be in real life: thus Samuel, while working for the Canadian government, has a father-son set of bosses who are bizarre without being in any way humorous. Sometimes the novel is very alive and engrossing, mostly it is bleak and unrewarding. The two most interesting and well drawn characters are secondary characters: the Tyne's white "friends" in their small town. Incidentally, there is nothing mysterious about the ending, as a reviewer wrote, it is quite clear who committed the crime.
3 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
uncompromising and masterful 8 juin 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Praise comes cheap in the literary world and Edugyan has been so highly touted by the likes of the New Yorker and Joyce Carol Oates and the Globe and Mail that one can't help but be suspicious. I picked Second Life up thinking, "Great, just what we need, another important new voice." But this truly is an astonishing first novel. Despite its "gothic" elements it is never anything but literary and uncompromisingly so - do not buy this book if you like Stephen King, you will be disappointed. The ending is not "obscure" but rather "mysterious"; a crime is left unsolved but the emotional turmoil surrounding this is addressed with a terrifying delicacy. And that is really what the novel is concerned with, it seems - not who did what to whom at precisely what moment, but how it is possible to go on in the face of failure and loss. The book is funny and heartbreaking and very wise and it is in the end about all of us. While Samuel Tyne is a black man and living in Canada and while the novel addresses this, the book is not about "race" at all and to suggest otherwise seems to me a misreading of the book. It is no more a novel about blackness than David Adams Richards' novels are about whiteness (in fact this novel made me think of Mercy Among the Children). Edugyan is interested in the human condition, in the hopes and failures and potential for redemption we all share. I was blown away.
This is not "beach reading." Buy the latest Margaret Atwood or Maeve Binchy if you have an airplane to catch. But if you want compelling literature by one of our future stars, read this.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This debut raises the bar of American Fiction a bit higher! 5 décembre 2004
Par claimingkin - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I applaud Esi Edugyan for raising the high bar of American Fiction just a bit higher with this debut. This novel about an eccentric family legacy pitted against an arduous culture makes for an astonishing read. Even though the author uses a narrative that often tells more than it shows, she clearly makes up for this with an intuitive character dialogue that makes the second chance at life for Samuel Tyne ominous!
0 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
TMI (To Much Information) 4 mars 2005
Par AHMustang - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This book was to long and drawn out. The author went into way more detail than I needed. The author was to descriptive and use a lot of "million dollar" words. The book has lots of slow parts this is not a quick read. Sometimes I would have to read the pages two and three times to make it stick. I found myself bored and daydreaming while reading this book. It was page 235 before the book became a "page turner".

This was a bookclub selection. The book was a very good discussion book. We really tried to understand every bit of what the author was trying to get over.

The ending was not clear who was left left you to make that decision.
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