Waiting for the End of the World

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Waiting for the End of the World

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bell is the author of one previous novel, The Washington Square Ensemble ( LJ 2/15/83). His new work is an odd compendium of the trendy and the obscure. A terrorist cell that has the bomb, spontaneous human combustion, street people in Times Square suffering from radiation poisoning, and human torture by devil worshippers are some of the ingredients in this awkward stew of a novel. Anti-hero Larkin, an epileptic who sees demons and hears apocalyptic voices, careens through the plot like a loose cannon on the deck of a sinking ship. Larkin is a barely appealing main character; other members of the motley crew are even worse. Motivations are muddy or nonexistent. There is some good writing and narrative drive, but too many philosophical concerns compete for space. For large fiction collections only. A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
Meg Wolitzer
Madison Smartt Bell's first novel, ''The Washington Square Ensemble,'' was concerned with the world of street drugs and half-lives, and now the author has returned to even more sordid territory. Lyricism and terrorism do not mix well here, and the novel never quite reconciles itself to this problem. The reader is left with a very bleak but sometimes memorable vision of a world out of control. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140093308
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/7/1986
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Madison Smartt  Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Whether he's writing about the Haitian Revolution or a white Tae Kwon Do teacher in the Baltimore ghetto, Madison Smartt Bell can be extraordinarily flexible while maintaining his simple but poetic way with language. As the New York Times Book Review once put it, "[Bell] has an uncanny understanding of the way many people must struggle to live."

Biography

Best known for an acclaimed trilogy of novels which chart the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803 (All Souls Rising; Master of the Crossroads; and The Stone That The Builder Refused), Madison Smartt Bell was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and educated at Princeton University and Hollins College. In addition to fiction that ranges from historical novels to short stories to dark psychological thrillers, he has written biographies (one of pioneering chemist Antoine Lavoisier and another of Haitian leader Toussaint L'Ouverture) and Charm City, an idiosyncratic guided tour of Baltimore, where he lives with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires. He has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and at Johns Hopkins University and currently directs the Creative Writing program at Goucher College. In 1996, Bell was chosen by the British literary magazine Granta as one of the twenty Best Young American Novelists. He is also an accomplished songwriter and musician.

Good To Know

"Two of my longterm pastimes are martial arts and music. I think this item of fact should make the characters I've written who practice both more plausible. I practiced Tae Kwon Do for 20 years until my knees stopped cooperating. Since then I've been doing Tae Chi -- great for concentration, meditation, clearing the head and restoring the energy, as well as being easier on the joints for anyone over 40. I've played various fretted instruments since I was 11, most recently electric guitar. Anything Goes, my most recent book, is a novel about a year in the live of a traveling cover band. It features a few original tunes cowritten by me and Wyn Cooper."

"Since 1996 I've been importing a few paintings from the Cap Haitien area of Haiti, as a benefit for painters there who suffer from the sharp decline of tourism. and some of these paintings can be seen at http://faculty.goucher.edu/mbell/painting.htm."

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    1. Hometown:
      Baltimore, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 1, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nashville, Tennessee
    1. Education:
      A.B. in English, Princeton University, 1979; M.A. in English and creative writing, Hollins College, 1981
    2. Website:

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