The Effect of Living Backwards

The Effect of Living Backwards

by Heidi Julavits


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Following her acclaimed debut, The Mineral Palace, Heidi Julavits presents a quirky, compelling novel about two sisters, a bizarre event, and the elusive nature of truth—a New York Times Notable Book.

Does Alice really hate her sister, or is that love? Was she really enrolled in grad school, or was that an elaborate hoax? Is this really a hijacking, or is it merely the effect of living backwards?

“Heidi Julavits—no stranger to edgy, dark topics—takes liberties with conventional notions of hijacking and hostages, weaving humor in a zingy and brainy spectrum...If you can take successive shots of wit with gulps of moral inquisition, then this fine book is for you.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425198179
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/07/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Heidi Julavits is the author of four critically acclaimed novels (The VanishersThe Uses of EnchantmentThe Effect of Living Backwards, and The Mineral Palace) and co-editor, with Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, of the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes. Her fiction has appeared in Harper's MagazineMcSweeney’s, and The Best American Short Stories, among other places.

What People are Saying About This

George Saunders

An absolute tour de force of apparently limitless imaginative ability, deep psychological insight, and astonishing verbal precision. In one fell swoop, Heidi Julavits establishes herself as the Scheherazade of the new Anti-Terror Age. Funny, unnerving, sophisticated, and dazzling in the range of its invention, THE EFFECT OF LIVING BACKWARDS is a terrific and important addition to our literature.

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The Effect of Living Backwards 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of those hall of mirrors-type books where not everything is as it seems. I couldn¿t help thinking I might have liked it more if that side of things had been kept secret until close to the end rather than being splashed all over the back of the book and laid bare in the first chapter. Don¿t get me wrong, the writing is superb, the energy invested in even the tiniest detail hugely impressive. I suspect I have only teased out one tenth of its meaning. The only bit that didn¿t quite ring true was the voice of narrator Alice, who is painted as plain and unloved yet she comes across throughout as sparkly, bubbly and full of wit and energy.
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good book with an odd plot about a dubious experiment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julavits is at her best with dialogue. I found it to be the best part of this novel. I wanted to know more about the main character, Alice...really liked her. But I was disappointed with the story or lack of of direction. I think it's tricky to tell a story that has a a plane hijacking as the backdrop especially in this sensitive post 9/11 era.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I continued to plow my way through this book even though I felt no emotional connection to any of the characters or a real understanding of what was really happening - which, of course, was the point. I prefer my reading to be a little less like taking mind altering drugs. However, I did think that the premise was interesting and liked the idea of the story connecting in a less logical order. In the end, for me, the puzzle just didn't come together and didn't leave me with any of the pleasant hum of feeling that you get after reading a really well drawn character - of 'missing' the characters after closing the back cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
at first, the book seemed pretentious simply because of the way the narrator used language but it became more engaging as time went on. the author has created a protangonist who is honestly insightful. the best parts - almost outstanding - are the shame stories that alternate between chapters. i found the ending disappointing...almost a bit silly. however, i think this author could write some fiercely entertaining short stories.