The Recognitions

  • by William Gaddis
  • Narrated by Nick Sullivan
  • 48 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Wyatt Gwyon's desire to forge is not driven by larceny but from love. Exactingly faithful to the spirit and letter of the Flemish masters, he produces uncannily accurate "originals" - pictures the painters themselves might have envied. In an age of counterfeit emotion and taste, the real and fake have become indistinguishable; yet Gwyon's forgeries reflect a truth that others cannot touch - cannot even recognize.
Contemporary life collapses the distinction between the "real" and the "virtual" worlds, and Gaddis' novel pre-empts our common obsessions by almost half a century. This novel tackles the blurring of perceptual boundaries. The Matrix and Blade Runner pale in comparison to this epic novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mr. Gaddis' Opus

My first impulse was to just copy some old, obscure review of 'the Recognitions' and claim it as my own. Alas, even the reviewers, academics, and cult worshipers of the God of PoMo all seem at once thunderstruck AND intimidated by Gaddis' opus.

What I understood was brilliant, what I didn't understand is most likely obscene. This is not a novel for the casual beach read, although as I write this, I am on a beach...washing sand out of my ebbs and salt off my flow, so never mind.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Breathtaking, Dizzying, Stimulating, Funny

This is not a perfect rendition of The Recognitions. All of the narration annoys when dialogue is absent- the actor sounds as though he is trying out for the Smart Ass's Encyclopedia. However, he plays all of the characters very distinctly and very respectably, and that is saying a lot as these are difficult, varied, and plentiful characters. The production is really 4 stars, but the book itself is a 5, and so great that I am giving the whole a 5 in the hopes you will read it. A lot of brilliant ideas float through "God cares as much for a moment as for an hour", "Do you think your Dutch masters never made bad pictures just because we have a few masterpieces passed down to us?", "How can I write a novel when I only know boys? Easy, I'll just do what Proust did and change half the boys names to girls", and so forth. Gaddiss perhaps more than any author is strengthened in the audiobook form because he writes in a stream of consciousness or a stream of reality where snippets of conversation come to you as if you were just sitting on the street, or walking through the novel. Don't dare try this book if you need very linear progression with distinct chapters and chronology like it was 7:45 am on October... and it was raining outside with a temperature of... you won't get any of that. One character asks another "Don't you ever wear a coat?" And that tells you it is winter now in this scene. No hero emerges either, though you expect it and wait for it. The novel feels drawn out near the end and is by no means perfect, but quite great and brilliant. Sadly overlooked, as was Gaddiss, though he fell to pure satire and snarkiness after this one book. For further reading see the Clementine Recognitions, The Golden Bough, and any other apocrophal early church writings. JR is much funnier but less rewarding and narrower in its reach.
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- andrew

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-13-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios