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A Meaningful Life (1971)

par L. J. Davis

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250983,562 (3.62)19
L.J. Davis’s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse. Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western-born hero of Davis’s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer. Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at which he toils away while passion leaks out of his marriage to a nice Jewish girl. Then Lowell discovers a beautiful crumbling mansion in a crime-ridden section of Brooklyn, and against all advice, not to mention his wife’s will, sinks his every penny into buying it. He quits his job, moves in, and spends day and night on demolition and construction. At last he has a mission: he will dig up the lost history of his house; he will restore it to its past grandeur. He will make good on everything that’s gone wrong with his life, and he will even murder to do it.… (plus d'informations)
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» Voir aussi les 19 mentions

Affichage de 1-5 de 9 (suivant | tout afficher)
A lively urban farce in the vein of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Portis. A bit meandering, a bit ridiculous, but often absolutely hilarious. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Hilarious, a real very funny novel. Brilliant characterizations and a parade of very weird people. The description of the house Lowell bought in Brooklyn almost matches Dante's Inferno. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
A young couple move to New York and settle into an aimless 9-5 life, it's monotony broken only by gin and Speed Racer reruns. When Lowell Lake decides to turn his life around by purchasing a grotesque fixer upper in Bed-Stuy, bleak existential hilarity ensues. Written in the early 70's, the prose remains fresh. Very funny, hopeless and highly recommended. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
I didn't love this as much as Davis' "Cowboys Don't Cry" but still a great read. No one depicts a hopeless and misunderstood existence better than Davis. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Aug 28, 2013 |
This is a depressing story about Lowell Lake, a man whose life has no meaning (obviously by the title!); no matter what he does he does not seem to find a purpose for his life. Everything he does is mediocre and seems to happen to him in a totally unplanned manner. However, the book is humorous.

Whenever he tries to change things, to make them fit his intentions, he bungles up and things turn out differently than what the way he thought they would. Partly because he just lets things happen and makes little effort to change. He does a lot of things without thinking about the consequences- most of the time he has a faint idea of what he wants but takes no effort to make it happen.

His marriage is falling apart, but neither he nor his wife make an effort to make it better. His wife, Betty, is a character not very well delineated who appears to almost be like another piece of furniture in their apartment. Although she fights back and aggravates him. She also seems to go along with

May 2012 ( )
  xieouyang | May 28, 2012 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 9 (suivant | tout afficher)
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
L. J. Davisauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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"This is the place. Drive on."
--Brigham Young
"Brigham , Brigham Young,
It's a miracle he survived,
With his roaring rams,
And pretty little lambs
And his five and forty wives."
--Old Idaho Folk Song
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Lowell Lake was a tall man, rather thin, with thin sandy hair and a distant, preoccupied though amiable disposition, as though the world did not reach him as it reaches other men and all the voices around him were pleasant but very faint.
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L.J. Davis’s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse. Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western-born hero of Davis’s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer. Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at which he toils away while passion leaks out of his marriage to a nice Jewish girl. Then Lowell discovers a beautiful crumbling mansion in a crime-ridden section of Brooklyn, and against all advice, not to mention his wife’s will, sinks his every penny into buying it. He quits his job, moves in, and spends day and night on demolition and construction. At last he has a mission: he will dig up the lost history of his house; he will restore it to its past grandeur. He will make good on everything that’s gone wrong with his life, and he will even murder to do it.

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