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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. John Vincent Dolan is a talented young forger with a proclivity for mathematics and drug addiction. In the face of his impending institutionalization, he continually reinvents himself to escape the legal and mental health authorities and to save himself from a life of incarceration.
But running turns out to be costly. Vincent's clients in the L. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Contortionist's Handbook , please sign up. This one looks amazing Caeli Weaver-Jones Man, I'm sorry nobody else answered.
Yes, this book is amazing, and it doesn't really deal with 'recovery' at all. The main character overdoses, yes, …more Man, I'm sorry nobody else answered. The main character overdoses, yes, but engages readily in his drug use- the real topic of conversation is quite different.
I hope you picked it up! See 2 questions about The Contortionist's Handbook…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Contortionist's Handbook. Aug 16, Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it Shelves: usa , literature. It's a good thing I didn't know about Palahniuk's praise of this neat little story before I started reading it, or it may have passed gotten shoved under my radar.
Come to think of it, I hope I haven't prematurely spoiled any potential entertainment for you, assuming you're like me in that you hear "praise from Chuck Palahniuk! Ignore that madness. This is a really strong first novel about a master document forger in the 's whose skills were hone It's a good thing I didn't know about Palahniuk's praise of this neat little story before I started reading it, or it may have passed gotten shoved under my radar.
This is a really strong first novel about a master document forger in the 's whose skills were honed over the years out of necessity. Oh, and by "necessity" I mean that, on top of a rough childhood, he has six fingers on one hand and a pretty major drug and alcohol problem largely resulting from sporadic, somatoform migraines. Self-medicating these maybe real, maybe imagined headaches frequently lands him in the E.
He has memorized medical books, body language cues, and psychiatric manuals in order to dance his way out of these scenarios just long enough to completely change his identity and get to planning his escape from his next overdose or incarceration, depending which one comes first. What do you get when you cross a career criminal-slash-chameleon with the lady of his dreams?
Oh, there's no punchline; you're just fucked. This is especially true when your accidental disappearing act has pissed off some organized crime guys who have consistently relied on your forgeries to continue their shadowy affairs, so they try and go all "my name is Inigo Montoya" on your ass. Your once-complicated life is now extremely fucking messy and complicated. So the story rolls on. One of the coolest things about this book is it appeals to that side that I believe most of us have, the "disappear and start over" or "rob a rich badguy at gunpoint and move to Mexico" or "travel all over the world with a ninja sword hacking up all the assassins who I think killed my baby" fantasy.
This is normal, yes? I mean, there's exactly zero chance of me succeeding at a life lived by wits and reflexes alone considering that I've actually managed to give myself a second degree burn from a nickel , added to which I sliced my hand open on a clove of garlic just last Saturday.
I wish I was kidding, man. Anyway, the methods Clevenger's narrator lays out concerning how to go about completely vanishing and re-emerging all tabula rasa style sound totally plausible to someone who knows not one thing about stealing an identity from a recently deceased person and building a verifiable imaginary history all the way from childhood to present. Not that I encourage law-breaking, but damn would it ever be nice to get those student loan assholes off my case.
A girl can read books like this and dream though, right? View all comments. I reread this one by way of audiobook. Ray Porter's narration was wonderful. I have no preference over text or audio, though. The Contortionist's Handbook is not easily categorized or reviewed. It's a tremendous accomplishment, both in terms of research and delivery. I never once questioned whether or not the information in this book was fact or fiction. I simply enjoyed the ride. Those of you that read for fun might find this book monotonous and bo I reread this one by way of audiobook.
Those of you that read for fun might find this book monotonous and boring, so I suggest skipping it. Those of you who enjoy stylish writing that's full of heart, you should adore this little book. There is little to no action inside The Contortionist's Handbook. It's a battle of wits, and you're hanging with the guy who's brought a gun to a knife fight. The writing snaps, crackles, and pops. Craig Clevenger's prose can dice cantaloupe, if you can dig it.
There's no filler, no word out of place, no flowery fuckery, only tight writing you can bounce a quarter off. The love story in this book is handled well. There's no insta-love or love triangle bullshit, so if you're tired of those tropes in your fiction, you should enjoy this one. Let me be very clear, I hate romance, despise love stories of any kind, but this one worked for me.
Oh, and don't get me wrong, this isn't a romance book. If anything, I'd call it bleak lit fic. Not really dark, but you shouldn't expect sunshine and rainbows. In summation: This is a helluva smart book.
When it first came out, Chuck Palahniuk said it was easily the best book he'd read in five years. Maybe ten. I'd have to agree with him. Since then, there have been better books in the general fiction world, but not many. The Contortionist's Handbook has stayed with me since I read it over a decade ago, and more than withstood a reread.
In fact, I would go as far as saying I enjoyed my reread more than my original experience, and I loved this book after that first pass. Final Judgment: My highest possible recommendation View 2 comments.
Mar 18, Ed [Redacted] rated it it was amazing Shelves: John Vincent is a master forger with eleven fingers, at least as many identities and debilitating migraines.
He follows a pattern over the years where he suffers from his migraines until he eventually takes too much medication and is hospitalized, often as a suicide risk. Vincent has made a life of fooling those charged with evaluating the psychological states of patients hospitalized for drug overdoses, and this time he plays a game of cat and mouse with quite a bit more than usual riding on the John Vincent is a master forger with eleven fingers, at least as many identities and debilitating migraines.
Vincent has made a life of fooling those charged with evaluating the psychological states of patients hospitalized for drug overdoses, and this time he plays a game of cat and mouse with quite a bit more than usual riding on the outcome.
If you were to explain the plot of this book to me a month or two ago I would probably have passed. The plot, however, takes a back seat to the outstanding characterization Clevenger shows in this novel. My only quibble is with the ending, which seemed a bit pat to me. This was a fine effort and was well worth the time.
Tied up in knots
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The Contortionist’s Handbook by Craig Clevenger (2nd reading)
The Contortionist's Handbook is the debut novel by novelist Craig Clevenger. John Dolan Vincent is a talented young forger with a proclivity for mathematics and drug addiction. In the face of his impending institutionalization, he continually reinvents himself to escape the legal and mental health authorities and to save himself from a life of incarceration. But running turns out to be costly. Vincent's clients in the L. The novel's film rights were optioned by Greenestreet Films in