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Bed: A Novel
     

Bed: A Novel

3.9 13
by David Whitehouse
 

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Reminiscent of such novels as A Confederacy of Dunces and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Bed is a darkly funny and surprisingly tender debut novel about two brothers, one of whom refuses to leave his bed on his twenty-fifth birthday.

Mal Ede, a child of untamed manners and unbounded curiosity, is the eccentric eldest son of an otherwise

Overview

Reminiscent of such novels as A Confederacy of Dunces and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Bed is a darkly funny and surprisingly tender debut novel about two brothers, one of whom refuses to leave his bed on his twenty-fifth birthday.

Mal Ede, a child of untamed manners and unbounded curiosity, is the eccentric eldest son of an otherwise typical middle-class family. But as the wonders of childhood fade into the responsibilities of adulthood, Mal’s spirits fade too. On his twenty-fifth birthday, disillusioned, Mal goes to bed—back to his childhood bed—and never emerges again.

Narrated by Mal’s shy, diligent younger brother, Bed details Mal’s subsequent extreme and increasingly grotesque transformation: immobility and a gargantuan appetite combine, over the course of two decades, to make him the fattest man in the world. Despite his seclusion and his refusal to explain his motivations, Mal’s condition earns him worldwide notoriety and a cult of followers convinced he is making an important statement about modern life. But Mal’s actions will also change the lives of his haunted parents, his brother and the woman they both love, Lou.

In Bed, David Whitehouse has put a magnifying glass on contemporary society. Hailed as a “momentous” (The Bookseller) debut in the UK, Bed is a mordantly funny and ultimately redemptive parable about mortality, obesity, celebrity, depression and the broken promises of adulthood. It is one of the most audacious debut novels in years.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451614244
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
08/02/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
844,965
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

David Whitehouse is the author of Mobile Library and Bed, winner of the 2012 Betty Trask Prize and published in eighteen countries. He has several TV and film projects in development with Film4, Warp, the BBC, and others. In the UK, he writes regularly for the Guardian and The Times and is currently the Editor-at-Large of ShortList magazine.

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Bed 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
bolgai More than 1 year ago
This was definitely a book unlike anything I've read before. I didn't particularly like it, but it made me think about things that don't usually occupy my mind and that gives it value outside of the realm of pure entertainment. Whitehouse has a gift of witty and to the point observations that make you understand exactly what was going on and how everybody involved felt, or mainly how Mal's brother felt. Sometimes after reading a paragraph I couldn't help but silently exclaim "Exactly! That's exactly how it is!" because his characters, who are definitely the highlight of the book, are very ordinary people with simple lives and what happens to them can and often has happened to any one of us at some point. His descriptions don't shy away from anything and his writing style is almost journal-like. I keep referring to Mal's brother as "Mal's brother" because we never find out what his name is and that gave me some of that food for thought I was referring to earlier. On one hand how often do we talk about our own lives and address ourselves by our first name? On the other hand, why doesn't anyone else ever address him by his first name? Another thing I couldn't help but think about was whether Mal was selfish in making himself the focus of his family in such an unusual way or whether he was the glue that kept this family that would've fallen apart otherwise together. Did he destroy their lives or did he give their lives meaning, like he said he wanted to do in the beginning of the book. The reason I didn't especially like this story lies in that as clever as Mr. Whitehouse is too often the book feels like a bunch of one-liners put together and called a novel. The "present" chapters felt tedious and with every meticulous description of Mal and his fat and how their mother cared for him I couldn't help but feel slightly nauseated, wanting to find out more about the past instead of focusing on the present that didn't seem to go anywhere. Another reason for my lukewarm opinion of this book is that I didn't really understand what happened to Mal in the end. The big climax was getting him out of the house and then he just... vanished from the story. Are we to understand that he died? But how? Did he pull the plug or simply didn't make it? I'm all for endings that aren't all cut and dried but there was just too much left unsaid in this book. It all ends well for the main characters of this tragic story. They find love, they find themselves and things work out for them despite everything. I was glad that they were able to make a life for themselves in the end, although I wouldn't want to spend any more time with them than I did. They were all just too messed up. Then again, aren't we all messed up in our own ways? Book received courtesy of Simon & Schuster
EclecticReaderWR More than 1 year ago
David Whitehouse possesses a wonderful gift of language. Unfortunately, in BED, his gift serves little purpose other than to garner praise for his syntax. You find yourself focusing with admiration on his descriptions. Even that becomes a chore at as you struggle to the end because the story, what little there is of it, lies inert like 1,400 lbs. Mal on his bed. As to the point of Mal's discontent, it might be that there is no point to life, so why live it? Or, perhaps, if you can't rise above the crowd on merit, try getting into the Guinness Book of World Records with absurdist, self-destructive behavior. Along the way, wreck the lives of your parents, your brother, and your best girl. But, then, they should know better than to sacrifice themselves to a fellow who sees no future for himself. It will be interesting to see if Whitehouse can use his very powerful fund of words and skills at arranging them in inventive ways to tell a compelling story the next time out. You'll be happy with BED if you read it for the language and for the prospect that David Whitehouse might evolve into a very good novelist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How does he go pee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About nook $&%. Its WRONG AND GROSS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SATOP STEALING MY NAME NOWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you even ever come back....im very sorry i havent been on. My internet went out and we just got it fixed. I love you and i hope to see you soon.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really you sound like you wanna fuk