Today Show Book Club Pick
An extraordinarily haunting love story told in the voice of a man who appears to age backwards
We are each the love of someone's life.
So begins The Confessions of Max Tivoli, a heartbreaking love story with a narrator like no other. At his birth, Max's father declares him a "nisse," a creature of Danish myth, as his baby son has the external physical appearance of an old, dying creature. Max grows older like any child, but his physical age appears to go backward--on the outside a very old man, but inside still a fearful child.
The story is told in three acts. First, young Max falls in love with a neighborhood girl, Alice, who ages as normally as any of us. Max, of course, does not; as a young man, he has an older man's body. But his curse is also his blessing: as he gets older, his body grows younger, so each successive time he finds his Alice, she does not recognize him. She takes him for a stranger, and Max is given another chance at love.
Set against the historical backdrop of San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century, Max's life and confessions question the very nature of time, of appearance and reality, and of love itself. A beautiful and daring feat of the imagination, Andrew Sean Greer's The Confessions of Max Tivoli reveals the world through the eyes of a "monster," a being who confounds the very certainties by which we live and in doing so embodies in extremis what it means to be human.
About the Author
Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of five works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a Best Book of the Year by both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the O Henry Award for Short Fiction, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Public Library. Greer lives in San Francisco.
“Enchanting” —John Updike, The New Yorker
“Devastating, heartbreaking...an astonishment.” —Esquire
“Quietly dazzling...keenly affecting.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This year's break-out novel.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A devastating new writer” —Michael Cunningham
“A fable of surpassing gravity and beauty.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the most talented writers around.” —Michael Chabon
“Elegant and graceful.” —Miami Herald
“Brilliantly conceived.” —Los Angeles Times
“A breath-taking love story...a profound meditation on life.” —Salon.com
“A writer of great daring and originality.” —Peter Carey
“It leaves its readers ...both younger and wiser.” —Washington Post
“What's most impressive about Greer's work is the emotional intensity...and the deep beauty of his prose.” —The Atlanta Journal Constitution
“This is the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud, write notes in the margins and shed tears onto its pages.” —Neil LaBute
“Surprisingly and genuinely affecting.” —Library Journal
“Strikingly original and beautifully told.” —Bookpage
“Weird and wonderful...[a] deft new modern master.” —Elle.com
“[It] strums the heartstrings again and again...positively captivating.” —Booklist
“Mesmerizing and heartbreaking.” —Publishers Weekly
“The delights are many....old-fashioned narrative fun in a literary hall of mirrors.” —Kirkus Review
“A mythic, Proustian romance...a brilliant story.” —The Times (London)