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Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty by Lee Siegel

Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty
Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty
Lee Siegel
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United States
Penguin Books; Illustrated. edition (February 24, 2004)
432 pages
PDF size:
1155 kb
FB2 size:
1671 kb
EPUB size:
1485 kb
Circus performer, entertainer, and world traveler Isaac Schlossberg shares, in one hundred chapters, his experiences as the son of Jewish immigrants, a sideshow performer, carnie, stage and movie actor, and lover. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

  • Unnis
Well written, funny as hell at times and a little sad at times. Definitely recommend.
  • Corgustari
This is a delightful book. A hall of mirrors blurring of fiction, reality, illusion, intimacy, detachment, chance, and destiny. And lots of yiddish. If you want a story with a traditional arc and cast of characters, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you are willing to take a magician's tour of the world, it's a wonderful confection.
  • RuTGamer
If a book can change the direction of a person's life, then this was my one-in-a-million!

When a friend recommended LOVE AND OTHER GAMES OF CHANCE to me, I began reading it whimsically, without expecting much. After the first few sentences, I was hooked. Lee Siegel took me on a wild ride, following the fictional "autobiography" of a man who sets out his life in accordance to a game of Snakes and Ladders. He was allegedly born in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth's surface, and seeks to reach the top of Mt. Everest, therefore completing the game of life, from square one to 100 on the board of Snakes and Ladders.

Being born to parents that run a ten-in-one in the early 1900s, Isaac Schlossberg is taught at an early age that lying is not wrong, but merely a way to tell a better story. This sentiment follows him through his vibrant life, in which he meets thousands of colorful characters, spanning from the U.S., to India, to Communist Russia. He falls in love with over a dozen exotic women, including an ambitious tight-rope walker, a slightly bestial daughter of a herpetologist, and a paranoid aviatrix.

This story has everything, including faked deaths, snake charmers, horror theater, and above all, love.

Written in paragraph-less prose, LOVE AND OTHER GAMES OF CHANCE, is an epic novel that illustrates the enormity of human life in a vastly entertaining manner. If you are one who enjoys a quick read and easy language, this is not the book for you. But, if you want a challenge that will not only expand your vocabulary but add to your view of life as a whole, don't waste a second of your time without this book in your hand.

It doesn't get much better than this! Yee-HAW, what a ride!
  • Stanober
This book is literary innovation at its highest level. Really great literature shapes at least our language and at best the way we see our culture and our lives and relationships. And if it's really great, as is this book, it also makes us laugh. Language and love, lies and religion, showmanship and again love, and again lies that probably have a lot of truth in them. But we should probably know better than to believe in them. Two of the biggest: "I love you" and "I'm not afraid to die". Who hasn't told them? Are these the pre-requisites to a meaningful or at least an enjoyable life? The book is itself an ingeniously organized board game, a game of chance. Roll the die and take a different path through the life of Isaac Schlossberg, or at least the parts he wanted us to know about, climbing the ladders and falling back on the snakes. This is a book to re-read and re-play, always gaining in meaning and enjoyability. It's bound to offend some people (can you handle jewish humor in the time of Hitler?); great creativity always will offend some. So did Shakespeare, Vonnegut, and Groucho.
  • Doulkree
I loved it. It was all over the place. How many books can have Buffalo Bill, Hitler, Geronimo and a host of others, not to mention a great deal of Yiddish.

If you want a highly structured novel, this is not for you. If you want a riotous time, give it a try.
  • Vivados
This book is a mess: unstructured, long-winded, and pointless. An author's overblown exercise that doesn't merit an inch on a bookstore's shelf space. Nor does it merit a minute of a reader's time. It seems that Mr. Siegel got some issues he needed to work out in his head and he used the form of a "novel" to do that. Well, maybe that's of great important to him, but to the innocent reader, why should he/she be subjected to a total stranger's absurd fantasies?