After Claude

After Claude


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, April 26

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590173633
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 11/09/2010
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 852,386
Product dimensions: 5.04(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Iris Owens (née Klein) (?–2008) was born and raised in New York City, the daughter of a professional gambler. She attended Barnard College, was briefly married, and then moved to Paris, where she fell in with Alexander Trocchi, the editor of the legendary avant-garde journal Merlin and a notorious heroin addict, and supported herself by producing pornography (under the name of Harriet Daimler) for Maurice Girodias’s Olympia Press. Back in the United States, Owens wroteAfter Claude, which came out in 1973. A second novel, Hope Diamond Refuses, loosely based on her marriage to an Iranian prince, was published in 1984.

Emily Prager is a novelist, a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, and the winner of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism 2000 Online Journalism Award for Commentary. She is at work on a book of essays for Random House, entitled Secrets of Shanghai.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

After Claude 2.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SuzyK222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the introduction by Emily Prager: "The hilarious story of a breakup as it takes place in the dissolving mind of a brilliantly funny, parasitic ne'er-do-well. As the blurb from Kenneth Tynan on the back cover states: "barbed, bitchy and hilariously sour." Harriet, the anti-heroine, is someone you'd love to sit next to at a tedious dinner party -- as long as you don't have to take her home with you!
PensiveCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't really gotten far in this book yet. I got this as an Early Reviewers book, and I either must not have read the synopsis carefully or gotten a book I didn't request. Either way, in the first chapters the dialogue has enough to offend a number of different groups of people, including myself. And it's not exactly riveting to me, either.
ateolf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good, very funny book. Harriet, our narrator, gives us a glimpse of her world through a screen of wit dripping with venom. The farther we venture into the book, however, the more this wit can be seen as an extension of her psychosis (this word probably sounds more dramatic that I intend, but I do mean it literally: she is highly delusional and has a tenuous grasp on reality). The humor gets sparser as the book progresses, as well. As an unreliable narrator, the best way to gain glimpses of the "true" Harriet are in her biting insults towards other people. Many of her jabs at her "ex-best friend, Rhoda-Regina," are perfect descriptions of her own self. Many people here seem to be put off by her offensiveness. She spouts anti-Semitisms (while denying and very much being a Jew). After going on about race/sex to Rhoda-Regina's black boyfriend, she's sure the reason he avoids her in the future is due to his passion for her. Even the book's title and first sentence, "I left Claude, the French rat." are perfect highlights of the disparity between Harriet's voice and the world around her. The title claims "After" when the largest part of the book is her desperate attempt to cling to and stay with Claude. She doesn't "leave" him until he has her physically removed from his apartment. The writing of this book is very skilled and subtle. The prose is light and it's a quick read, but nothing is spelled out on the surface. In the end, I even started to feel sorry for Harriet, as nasty as she is (though, it must be said, she's always an enjoyable sort of nasty), but when it was all over I started to think: does she end up running into a terrible fate or, sadly, is it the only way she'd be able to function in this world? I'm still not really sure and maybe that's a good thing.
pitjrw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first half of the book detailing the run up to Harriet's break up with her French boyfriend is very amusing. Harriet reveals herself to be thoroughly disagreeable. Her obnoxiousness is only offset partially by the pretensions of her boyfriend and the other targets of her disdain. This disdain is expressed with absolute fearlessness. It lacks all sense of proportion or appropriateness.Harriet is a strong - if addled - character whose antics amuse and disgust simultaneously. The second half centers on the jilted Harriet's pathetic efforts to be accepted by a new man and the cult to which he belongs. This Harriet bares little resemblance to the Harriet of the first half, She's weak and subservient. I could not accept the change as I did feel the author had prepared me for the change. If the book had ended immediately After Claude I would have been more positive about it
Imprinted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad to have discovered Iris Owens. She was a tremendously funny and witty writer and I laughed aloud from page 1 of "After Claude"! But unfortunately, the last quarter of the book was disappointing, not up to the quality of the earlier section. I agree with the previous reviewers who said the book should have ended with the breakup with Claude and that If it had, I would have rated it with more stars.
janeajones on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first NYRB I have read that I disliked. And I disliked this one heartily. Perhaps I am not the right audience for it, but, honestly, I don't know who would be. Despite the back-cover blurbs from the NYTBR and Kenneth Tynan declaring that it exhibits "exhilarating talent and intelligence" and that it is "barbed, bitchy, and hilariously sour," I found it boring and rather ugly. The protagonist/narrator is a self-serving leech who excoriates and torments those who have helped her and ends up begging to be admitted to "The Institute," some sort of EST-y type cult. Ugh. Don't waste your time.
hauptwerk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You know it's going to be a good day when you've reached the fifth page of a novel and you already hate the protagonist. Harriet is a bundle of neurotic self-hatred, totally bereft of any useful life skills or, indeed, any redeeming qualities except for a facile, sarcastic wit that she unleashes on everyone around her. Totally dependent on others both emotionally and materially (she spends all day sleeping, eating and watching game shows), she alternates between despising them and throwing herself into their arms. As the novel progresses, we see all her friends, and especially her boyfriend Claude, from her perspective - that is, as hideous ogre caricatures bent on ruining her life. By the time Claude calls off their relationship, telling Harriet "I don't want to share your experiences any more," I was sorely tempted to reply, "My thoughts exactly," give Harriet the old heave-ho, and go read something else.At the same time, one has to admire the achievement of author Iris Owens in creating such a memorable character; Harriet may not be pleasant, but she jumps off the page like nobody's business. The narrative voice is impressively steady and consistent - each detail feels exactly right, and all the characters are presented in ways that are not only true to themselves, but also true to the way a person like Harriet would view them. And Harriet's snide observations are frequently amusing; one of my favourites has our hung-over heroine staggering out of bed, and turning on the television to be greeted by "a madman doing a doctoral dissertation on the fact that it was raining." The effect of all of this is lulling - sometimes you feel yourself starting to sympathize with Harriet, and then you realize that she is lying to the locksmith so that they will break her boyfriend's door open and change the locks.Yet the ultimate question isn't whether the book is well-written, which it certainly is, but whether the book accomplishes something that is worth doing. And I can't give a positive answer to that question, because what we get from After Claude is a few hours spent in the company of a person who you would cross the street to avoid in real life. I don't think I'm giving away much by telling you that there is no grand epiphany in store for Harriet at the end of the book, nor any prospect of healing or reconciliation (quite the opposite, in fact). Instead, we get two hundred pages of Harriet being horrible in a slightly amusing way. We also get several sexual scenes whose explicitness was no doubt daring in 1973, but which now come across as merely sordid. Readers should also probably be aware that this book contains some highly questionable remarks which will offend people of a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Doesn't this sound like fun?For all its flaws, this book might well be enjoyed by someone who likes this sort of blackly farcical humour more than I do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HBKiki More than 1 year ago
I chose to read this book because I heard it was a funny novel about a woman who left her "French rat" boyfriend and that the main character was sarcastic and hilarious. The beginning of this book was just that, and I truly enjoyed it, almost recommended it even. Until the last half, (spoiler) when it got weird, and became about a sex cult. I felt as if I had read two totally different books. Beware.