The Antiquarian

( 2 )

Overview

A Los Angeles Times Best of Summer pick

An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense)

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Summer: "The best literary puzzle of the summer."

Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$13.24
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $6.62   
  • New (10) from $9.01   
  • Used (3) from $6.62   
The Antiquarian

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$16.00 List Price

Overview

A Los Angeles Times Best of Summer pick

An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense)

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Summer: "The best literary puzzle of the summer."

Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo’s long buried fraternal loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic investigation.

While Daniel reveals his unsettling story using fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as a book collector. As the circumstances grow increasingly macabre and intricate, Gustavo is forced to deduce a intricate series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports and metaphors more revealing than evidence.

With sumptuous prose and haunting imagery, Faverón Patriau has crafted an unforgettable, labyrinthine tale of murder, madness, and passion that is as entertaining as it is erudite and dark as it is illuminating.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Carmela Ciuraru
…delightfully macabre…The Antiquarian is steeped in alienation, shame, mourning and disgust. It is intelligently conceived and well executed. Rather than serve up a tantalizing mystery with a tidy resolution, this book does the opposite, demolishing the "facts" and assumptions amassed along the way. It has hundreds of intricate pieces. Once you finish reading, you may feel compelled to take it apart, figure out how it works and begin again.
Publishers Weekly
★ 02/03/2014
The debut novel from Patriau, a Peruvian journalist, critic, and Roberto Bolaño scholar, possesses much of the unease and horror characteristic of Bolaño’s work. Psycholinguist Gustavo is contacted by his old friend Daniel, whom he hasn’t heard from in years. Daniel asks Gustavo to visit him in a nearby mental institution, where he’s being held for murdering his fiancée. Daniel, a mild-mannered eccentric who loves antique books, promises to reveal why he did what he did, and thus draws Gustavo into a search through the underground and back alleys of his unnamed South American country. Along the way, Gustavo encounters a rare book dealer network that’s actually a front for traffickers in illegally obtained human organs. One character, stricken with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which gives its victim an extremely elastic body, subjects another character to “the torture of her ecstatic expressions when one of her bones would break.... The sickness was her favorite toy.” But despite the gripping plot, Patriau’s beautiful and beguiling prose, full of dark fables (including the story of a 16-inch-tall boy) and bleak history lessons, is the real star: “As you know, mental illnesses make you speak, but they usually transform language into ritual”; “We’re all monsters, in one way or another, it’s just a matter of delving into one’s own birth defects.” This perfect blend of page-turning narrative and knockout prose is as good as it gets—Patriau’s book is pure pitch-black fun. Agent: Ryan Fischer-Harbage, the Fischer-Harbage Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
"Delightfully macabre. . . . A novel in which storytelling can prove redemptive, but it can also kill. . . . The Antiquarian is steeped in alienation, shame, mourning and disgust. It is intelligently conceived and well executed. Rather than serve up a tantalizing mystery with a tidy resolution, this book does the opposite, demolishing the ‘facts’ and assumptions amassed along the way. It has hundreds of intricate pieces. Once you finish reading, you may feel compelled to take it apart, figure out how it works and begin again." —Carmela Ciuraru, New York Times

"An ambitious, complex novel . . . Those who read by simultaneously working with the writer, fantasizing alongside him, capable of enjoying the subtleties and secrets of a text as rich and profound as the text of this novel, will never forget it." —Mario Vargas Llosa

"Absorbing . . . a pitch-black literary thriller that locates the thin line that separates love and horror." —Wayne Roylance, New York Public Library (10 Summer Reads)

"[The Antiquarian] possesses much of the unease and horror characteristic of Bolaño’s work . . . beautiful and beguiling. . . . This perfect blend of page-turning narrative and knockout prose is as good as it gets—Patriau’s book is pure pitch-black fun." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A masterful debut in which a Peruvian literary critic and scholar crafts a metamystery that explores identity, deceit, guilt and narrative. . . . Rarely does a literary mystery work on as many levels as this." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"At once heartbreaking and redemptive . . . [The Antiquarian] illuminates a deep interconnection between horror and love." —Booklist (starred review)

"Gustavo Faverón Patriau has written a dark, cruel and thrilling gem of a novel. There are shades of Borges fabulism here, and Calvino's Invisible Cities, but something more mysterious too, something gothic, something macabre. The Antiquarian is a novel about literature, war, madness and friendship, a startling read from the first sentence to the last." —Daniel Alarcón, author of Lost City Radio and At Night We Walk in Circles

"A splendid neo-gothic tale. . . . It’s the kind of read that alters your experience of reading." —Dennis Haritou, Three Guys One Book

"For fans of Latin American writers like Borges and Bolaño, or anyone fascinated by the utterly creepy." —Bustle (A Best Book of the Year)

"Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s The Antiquarian is a dazzling and unforgettable meditation on deception, obsession, and the search for truth. How rare it is to find a novel of ideas that never fails to entertain. How rare it is to find a novel that marries intelligent, intricate plotting with richly rewarding prose. I was privileged to find such a novel in THE ANTIQUARIAN, and once I had fallen headlong into Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s mysterious and mythic creation, I couldn’t bear to leave it." —Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth

"A genre-blending novel, a complete immersion that delves into a lesser-used niche of genre: horror, gothic, the weird. . . . Plot and mystery do drive the book, but the intricate prose makes it so that even when you know what is about to be revealed, you want to see the tricks of language that get us there. . . . The Antiquarian encourages the thrill of reading, forcing you to move quicker and quicker, unsure if you are escaping or falling into a trap, as the end nears." —Three Percent

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-05-07
A masterful debut in which a Peruvian literary critic and scholar crafts a metamystery that explores identity, deceit, guilt and narrative.The plot seems simple enough, until it doesn't. Narrator Gustavo (who has the same first name as the author) is a psycholinguist who receives an out-of-the-blue call from his closest friend, Daniel, with whom he's had no contact for three years. Daniel apparently wants to talk about what happened back then, when he was accused of killing his fiancee in a jealous rage and subsequently attempted suicide, and what has happened since, during his confinement in a mental hospital. From that setup, strands of narrative intertwine: stories of Gustavo and Daniel in the formative days of their friendship; stories of Daniel and his disturbed sister, who disappeared; stories about Daniel's obsession with older books, which somehow involves him in a "mafia that traffics in human body parts." Interspersed with these stories are fables and parables from the novel's title character, who merges with one of its main characters. Against a backdrop of clashing armies and acts of terrorism, Gustavo and Daniel resume their relationship, with the former starting to feel like a "fictional detective" who "felt more like I was being played with by an army of hooded puppeteers." Is Daniel the one pulling those strings? Did he commit the murder to which he confessed? Has he committed others? Daniel has plainly enlisted Gustavo to find out something, but what if Gustavo's discovery incriminates Daniel? As one character suggests, "[t]he moments from the past or from the future, the unreal scenes from tales, dreams, the projects we push aside each day that exist in the doubt we stop having in order to live—they're all worlds as true as this one." Within these worlds, the novel finds a provisional truth.Rarely does a literary mystery work on as many levels as this.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802121608
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 181,070
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gustavo Faverón Patriau is the director of the Latin American Studies Program and an associate professor of Romance languages at Bowdoin College. He is the author of two books of literary theory and has edited anthologies on Roberto Bolaño and Peruvian literature. As a journalist and a literary and social critic, his articles and essays have appeared around the world in such publications as Daily Kos, Etiqueta Negra, and Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Three years had gone by since the night when Daniel killed Juliana, and on the telephone his voice sounded like someone else’s. As if nothing had happened, he called to invite me to lunch. As if lunch with him still meant going to a casually chosen restaurant or to his parents’ house, where we used to hang out, surrounded by shelves packed with books, manuscripts, notepads, and bundles of papers folded into quarters, and corbels stuffed with thousands of volumes with amber spines, cracked leather covers, and glistening dust jackets. As if visiting him still meant, like it did before, ascending that wrought iron spiral staircase toward the library-bedroom in which Daniel used to spend every waking hour of the day, day upon day, week after week, deciphering marginalia in tomes that no one reads anymore, having breakfast and lunch in his pajamas, putting his feet up on the desk, with a magnifying glass in his left hand and an expression of astonishment rippling across his face. Back then, it did not mean entering that awful place where they had interned him, or rather, where he had interned himself in order to escape an even more confining prison.

Daniel had been my closest friend since our early college days. We were inseparable during those now distant years, when our vocations were being decided and with them, our lives. I chose psychology, thereafter psycholinguistics, and barely had I left the department when I married an irresistible, elegant colleague who fell terminally ill and died two years later, leaving me alone in a house I no longer recognized, with a collection of letters from lovers who had given her more affection than I had—and afterward I no longer had the strength to build another relationship that would not decline into brevity and anonymity. Daniel, abstaining from juvenile engagements, was almost immediately seized by the study of history, books, and antiquities. He delved into a world of frantic and febrile readers who would consume tortuous volumes with the voracity of multi-cephalic beasts that spent their existence submerged in archives and hundred-year-old catalogues, or in meetings of bibliophile relic-traffickers, scholars who would purchase entire libraries from the widows of their dearest friends, paying derisory sums, in perpetual search for the coveted uncut tome that, once acquired, they could deflower with a pair of shears or with a blade in the obscurity of some dim den.

Daniel was younger than all of them—they were old enough to be his parents or grandparents—but for some reason they treated him as if he were an old Sherpa on some wilderness expedition into which they had accidentally, unfortunately or perhaps cunningly ventured while hiding certain objectives that none of them dared confess. One of them was Gálvez, a retired pettifogger who, then and for many years now, has divided his time between practicing ornithology and hunting incunabula and ecclesiastic archives, a solitary and despotic soul who obeyed only his own intuitions, Daniel’s silent admonitions, or the whims of his old maid of a daughter, his sole companion at home. Another of them, Mireaux, was the hunchbacked proprietor of a conservative tabloid—aristocratic in appearance, abounding with arithmetical phrases and intransigence, he as much as his paper—and this man possessed a high-pitched voice that seemed to squeak out of his nose or escape through the folds of corrugated skin that covered his throat. The third, Pastor, was an ex–nautical captain, older than Daniel but younger than the others, who had retired from the Navy years ago in order to dodge his transfer to the Red Zone—a destination that officers back then, though really not that long ago, understood as a deadly curse, if not a sentence to perpetual horror. Pastor moved in semicircles when he walked and, with his outstretched fingers, drew spherical flowering figures in the air as he spoke—that is, when he produced the whine of that dark and undulating voice of his, like the squirting of squid ink, which he proffered each time he wished to lay to rest his discrepancy with other people over a topic that had become the center of a dispute.

I never knew them very well, but my relationship with Daniel increased the frequency of our encounters. We shared a superficial friendship of short conversations and banal references, except for Mireaux, with whom my dealings were greater, because one of his nieces, who was aphasic and autistic, had been my patient for many years. The four of them—Daniel and Mireaux at first, and then Pastor and Gálvez—casually to start and then quite often visited the only bookstore of antiquities in the city they felt was deserving of their respect. They soon became regulars and, metonymically or maybe by metastasis, as Daniel joked, ended up shareholders, and then expanded the store, transforming it into an emporium of printed relics, engravings, charcoal drawings, nineteenth-century oil paintings, documents from the colonial era, the emancipation, the First Republic, which they acquired and sold or, so say certain unminded tongues, stealthily purloined from the humblest of provincial churches and decapitated chapels in the middle of nowhere, or which they purchased from needy debtors who were ignorant to the fact that between the papers and books of a recently deceased uncle, father, or grandfather was an unmistakable edition of such and such a volume from such and such a collection, which Daniel or Pastor or Gálvez or Mireaux, or perhaps all of them, had sought for years on end. Together, the four men became the principal proprietors of that bookstore, little by little emasculating the influence of the original owner, before ousting him once and for all. So it was that each proprietor added to the old catalogue what he was willing to volunteer from his private collection, and by the end of this operation, the four of them christened the new bookstore with the curious and amusing name by which they had come to call themselves: The Circle.

I was often tempted to enter that community of unforgivable bibliopaths, but I never did. I am, as I was then, a practical reader, dazzled only on occasion by Daniel’s findings and his passion. I always stayed close to him throughout the end of our boyhood and over the nearly two decades that he would spend building that legendary library that book dealers, intellectuals, and university professors spoke of with reverence and envy, in the way that initiates of a sect speak of the sanctuary inhabited by their mystical leader. Indeed, we had stayed close until the morning when I learned, not from him, but from the headlines of several newspapers at a newsstand downtown—this being three years ago—that Daniel had killed Juliana, his fiancée, stabbing her thirty-six times, supposedly in a fit of jealousy. He had tried to burn her body, then stuck her in the trunk of his car and left her there for hours. Then he had driven from the beach to the city, returning to his parents’ house, where they still lived, with the slashed cadaver in the trunk. He had tried to take his own life with a gunshot to the head, but was unsuccessful. Chance, it turns out, had decided that this very gun, stolen from the dresser at the house, should jam and thereby give his father time to rush toward his son and save his life with a clout to the back of his head.

I did not see him during the days that ensued. Defeated by a feeling of absurd and unjustifiable guilt, I did not dare attend the trial or visit him in prison; I did not speak with his parents or with his brother; never did I go near the psychiatric ward, a mere five blocks from my apartment, where the judge had ordered that he be interned, ruling him insane and keeping him out of prison in exchange for a secret payment which, nonetheless, half of the city gossiped about with the same certainty as they did theories about the motives of the crime: adultery, exploitation, an intricate incident between traffickers of archeological remains. Lies. And I had not heard his voice again until he asked me to have lunch with him that afternoon, and I, without enough time to come up with an excuse, said sure, I would be right over. At that moment it was impossible to imagine that my conversation with Daniel would be plagued with riddles and silences that would require me, for the purpose of quelling them, to transform into a detective from dusk to dawn and hit the streets to capture certain specters, delve deep into the well of a distant memory, and pursue, through the labyrinthine minds of loons, the fickle face of two or three ghosts. Edward Wightman crumbled the body of Christ to distribute it amongst the birds and they killed him: 1612. Gabriel Malagrida drove out the merchants from the coop and they killed him: 1761.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    This is simply the worst book I ever read!! No plot, sickening d

    This is simply the worst book I ever read!! No plot, sickening descriptions, no characters to care about. How any critics can hail it as great is beyond me.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)