The Double Life of Alfred Buber

The Double Life of Alfred Buber

by David Schmahmann

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940013742260
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Publication date: 01/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 198
File size: 336 KB

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Double Life of Alfred Buber 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
rmckeown on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Undoubtedly, thousands of good novels find their way to bookstores every year, but the vast majority come from the big publishing conglomerates. Unfortunately, far too many really good novels pass almost unnoticed, because small and/or independent publishers issued them. Most of the time, the publicity for these novels comes as a result of gallons of sweat and struggle of those who labor in the marginalized world of the independent press. Permanent Press, as one example, has published a whole slew of interesting, well-written, and critically acclaimed novels. Yet¿ Calls to the three major bookstores in Waco netted the following responses: ¿It¿s not something we carry. We would have to order it. It would take 7-10 business days¿ (Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million) and ¿That¿s not popping up in my system at all¿ (Hastings).Permanent Press has another winner on its hands. The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann ¿ published in June ¿ tells the story of a peculiar man who leaves his home in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for an education in America. Alfred ends up in Boston and decides to go to law school. His father dies a couple of years later, and his mother packs up and moves to England.From the first page, it is evident that Schmahmann has produced an interior monologue of the first order. While not as humorless as Dostoevsky¿s Crime and Punishment, and only slightly below the prose of Nabokov, this interesting and eccentric character spins a tale which blurs the line between reality and fantasy, the rational and the ridiculous.Alfred has built his life around a series of paradoxes. He constantly contradicts himself, and this self-confusion leads him down a path some might consider sordid. I happen to believe this quality interior monologue provides incredible insights into the workings of an eccentric mind. A few scenes in the ¿Star of Love Bar¿ provide the gritty and perilous nature of some of Alfred¿s fantasies. As the novel reaches its conclusion, Alfred¿s fantasies confuse him further as his double life is revealed. Recently published, you will most likely have to order this novel, but it is more than worthwhile ¿ even with a great deal of effort. Amazon carries it, and you can get it in a couple of days. I need to do even more of my shopping there and stop wasting gas around here. 5 stars--Jim, 7/11/11
Shortride on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The main character was interesting in spite of himself. Decent book.
oldman on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Poor Alfie Buber, the protagonist of The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann, remember him? He is the fat little kid in the corner of the playground who never was a part of the crowd. Alfie has always been in the corner of his playground and, though successful professionally, he never learned to be anywhere but in a corner. He graduated from law school, though he didn¿t seem to care he did. Social interactions are limited to an uncle, as he has little or no interaction with his parents in Rhodesia and a few women. The relationship with the uncle is an older/wiser to younger/dumber person. Relationships with women are distant, never involving anything more than ¿we were both delusional.¿ He grows in stature professionally and politically but never personally, always being the rotund unattractive fellow. Over time he seems to develop an alter ego, travels to the Far East and finds a beautiful young girl in a bar, Nok. He develops a relationship with her, but Nok¿s feelings, other than leaving where and who she is, are unclear. He becomes obsessed with the girl, travels to her village, meets her father, and ultimately promises to bring her to Boston, where a mansion of his own design sits empty waiting for him and her. He lives a Walter Mitty life and continues misinterpreting what and how people are communicating with him. This leads to his complete downfall. Nok, the beautiful girl from the bar, disappears and is only found by him through devious means, ending with Alfie in jail and confrontation with his mother. His job collapses under the accusation of impropriety with a contractor. The uncle dies, leaving him alone. An event saves him when a daughter he has never known, appears at the mansion. The woman¿s mother and Alfie were involved in a single event during law school. Alfies¿ later conclusion of that relationship was both he and the mother were delusional. At the end Alfie seems to be satisfied, though doomed to loneliness, because he has never willingly tried to overcome it; but happy he has a daughter- someplace. Nok has traded one kind of poverty for another, now trapped in a place unknown, yet known to her. This book is funny; the rotund Buber never seems to quite understand himself, never mind others. Life to him is good or bad. Outwardly he is the consummate professional. But he travels the world trying to find what is in him. Buber is the adolescent, never grown up. This book is sad too; Buber can¿t seem to understand others. Nok is beautiful and intelligent and mired in poverty. She leaves that life only to end in a different abusive poverty. I enjoyed The Double Life of Alfred Buber because, it pointed to the loneliness and struggle we all have to live and love others. I give this book three and one-half stars.
westcott on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I wasn't initially grabbed by this, but after a few chapters, once the at-the-time random seeming digressions began to add up to a clear personality and a clear narrative, I did get into it. I liked the insights into the narrator's character as he looked at how much of a double life he really has, especially as they seemed to change over the course of the novel. If I saw another one by this author, I'd probably pick it up. I enjoyed his skill with cleverness and structure . If anything, he's occasionally verging on too clever and too much attempted structural playing around. One early passage seemed to really mislead me in terms of the plot at the end of the book and is never really explained away unless something that seemed to be actual narration was intended to be just in his head.
tarenn on LibraryThing 10 months ago
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALFRED BUBER by David Schmahmann an fictional "memoir".It is an intense,complex,emotional poignant story of an illicit affair between a middle-aged man and a teenage Asian girl. Alfred is self described as old fashioned,formal,a little prissy,has a dry sense of wit,has a fetish for Asian girls,and enjoys sex with very young prostitutes. For the young prostitutes he travels to Asia,Europe,Boston, and Bangkok.This fetish leads him to a double life. He eventually falls in in love with one of his young teenage prostitutes,Nok,who is beautiful,young,and may or may not care for him. As he travels to Boston,Europe, and Bangkok for his fetish,he soon learns that while he is trying to sort out his life,his life is coming unraveled and he must face the consequence of his fetish.This is an emotional story of teenage prostitutes,a middle aged man,fetishes,leading a double life,as he does not want people to know about his other life. If you enjoy very complex stories with a different theme.Alfred a pillar of the community having an illegitimate romance with a teenager and a man who is flawed in so many ways than you will enjoy this one.This book was received for the purpose of review from RMS Public Relations and details can be found at The Permanent Press and My Book Addiction and More.
LJuneOsborne on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The narration style of this story was like reading someone's diary, which gives it an air of honesty and charm. At the same time this reminded me of when I read old entries from my own diary - certain parts are frustratingly vague, other parts bore with exhaustive detail. At the same time this makes the story seem relatable.There is something gruesomely human about Buber's confusion and inner conflicts with sexuality and personal identity. He is constantly running from the person he believes himself to be, only to be horrified with who or what he tries to be instead. He is constantly running back and forth from one persona to another, almost like a teenager desperately trying to find his niche among his peers(again, like my old diary entries).When one relates this to our current information age we can find an interesting line of thought. With computers and the internet the way it is we can go online and choose to live out all sorts of anonymous alternate lives. Buber travels across the world to live out his alternate life, so that it hides in reality rather than being stowed away online. With these things in mind, I wonder, what would happen if everyone's anonymous lives online were in imminent danger of colliding with their real lives? Although Buber disregards technology in general, including the internet, the way the story made me think of this question and the drama involved might be what I remember most about this book in the future.
williecostello on LibraryThing 10 months ago
My review, in a nutshellEntertaining narrator, entertaining narrative, but lacking in further depthMy review, in a slightly larger, say Brazil-nut-sized, nutshellWhat most readers will enjoy and find special about "The Double Life of Alfred Buber" is its unique and entertaining narrative voice. Alfred Buber's reflections on his life and his various romantic (if we can call them that) exploits are presented throughout with wit, bombast, self-deprecation, and hyper-self-consciousness. For me, I found Buber's prose to have this wonderful "nervous tic" quality to it, which was continually entertaining and fun (and often funny) to read. His story itself is entertaining, as well, and more than interesting enough to keep the reader reading and wanting to find out how it all ends.That being said, however, upon finishing this book I was left feeling like I'd /only/ been entertained. It was good and smart entertainment, to be sure, but I struggled to find any deeper significance or meaning in the work. I felt like I had merely read a story about a peculiar man, told to me in an interesting way, and I like to get more out of my novels. But maybe other readers will find more to it, I'm not sure.
hauptwerk on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I am always suspicious of overly enthusiastic jacket blurbs. This novel, for example, has a testimonial from Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha) comparing Schmahmann's protagonist to Humbert Humbert and J. Alfred Prufrock, precisely the sort of thing which makes me nervous - when the dust jacket invites comparison with the likes of Eliot and Nabokov, how can I possibly avoid being disappointed? The opening of the book did little to allay my fears; the writing style has definite affinities to Nabokov, with its knowing first-person narration, wide range of references, and obvious delight in the English language. Even the plot setup has echoes of Lolita: our narrator, Alfred Buber, presents a front of outward respectability to the world - a respected lawyer, a Pillar of the Community - while secretly carrying a decidedly shady affair with Nok, a prostitute from an unnamed Asian country. A cynic might sneer that Schmahmann has simply changed the names of Nabokov's characters and inserted them into the setting he knows from firsthand experience (i.e., a law office in Massachusetts).That would be a shame, though, because despite these surface similarities, The Double Life of Alfred Buber is more than a Lolita-clone. Humbert Humbert, for all his persuasive charm, ultimately comes across as somehow alien; we sympathize with him not because we could imagine ourselves imitating his reprehensible actions but because, in his virtuosic eloquence, he is able to present his actions in an almost flattering light. Buber is different; as the novel progresses, he becomes more and more securely trapped in his own web of self-deception, his final downfall emerging almost inevitably from his own actions. His self-loathing and inner emptiness is of a type that seems all too familiar in the modern world. He and Nok play off each other in an interesting way; the tragedy of their relationship is that each one is essentially a closed book to the other, and the self-destructive result of their affair comes as no surprise.A reader could be forgiven for thinking he's seen this all before - Nabokov is constantly lurking in the wings, and Nok frequently reads as though she's just stepped out of Graham Greene's The Quiet American - but Schmahmann's book stands up on its own, and is well worth reading.
SamPaul More than 1 year ago
I found myself completely absorbed by this novel, from the first sentence "These are chronicles of the starship Buber," until the last: "A life has weight by virtue of it having been lived. Or at least that is what I must believe." It's a rollicking, erudite, funny fake memoir of a man who can't find himself, pretends to be what he isn't, and is bitterly lonely living a life that just doesn't feel like his own. He finds solace in an odd, sexualized search for companionship, but that's not the point at all, and I don't agree with the idea that he's motivated by sex or that he's particular interested in young girls. Buber as a character is much more complex, and vastly more interesting, than that. This is a wonderful book and beautifully written. In fact, it's scarcely about sex at all.
AAR More than 1 year ago
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALFRED BUBER by David Schmahmann an fictional "memoir".It is an intense,complex,emotional poignant story of an illicit affair between a middle-aged man and a teenage Asian girl. Alfred is self described as old fashioned,formal,a little prissy,has a dry sense of wit,has a fetish for Asian girls,and enjoys sex with very young prostitutes. For the young prostitutes he travels to Asia,Europe,Boston, and Bangkok.This fetish leads him to a double life. He eventually falls in in love with one of his young teenage prostitutes,Nok,who is beautiful,young,and may or may not care for him. As he travels to Boston,Europe, and Bangkok for his fetish,he soon learns that while he is trying to sort out his life,his life is coming unraveled and he must face the consequence of his fetish.This is an emotional story of teenage prostitutes,a middle aged man,fetishes,leading a double life,as he does not want people to know about his other life. If you enjoy very complex stories with a different theme.Alfred a pillar of the community having an illegitimate romance with a teenager and a man who is flawed in so many ways than you will enjoy this one.This book was received for the purpose of review from RMS Public Relations and details can be found at The Permanent Press and My Book Addiction and More.