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The Little Book (2008)

von Selden Edwards

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
9415617,264 (3.48)30
The exiled scion of a prominent Boston family, forty-seven-year-old Wheeler Burden is living in 1988 San Francisco until he is mysteriously transported to fin de siècle Vienna, a city that he finds strangely familiar, where he finds a mentor in Sigmund Freud.
  1. 30
    Die Farben der Zeit oder ganz zu Schweigen von dem Hunde und wie wir des Bischofs Vogeltränke schließlich doch fanden von Connie Willis (Othemts)
  2. 20
    Der Schatten des Windes von Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Othemts)
  3. 20
    Das andere Ufer der Zeit von Jack Finney (Othemts)
  4. 21
    Die Frau des Zeitreisenden von Audrey Niffenegger (Othemts)
  5. 10
    Die Glasbücher der Traumfresser von Gordon Dahlquist (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: These two books have, in my opinion, quite similar writing styles and concepts - the plots are not at all similar, however (Glass Books has no time travel)
  6. 00
    Bid Time Return von Richard Matheson (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
  7. 00
    Die Kunst des Feldspiels von Chad Harbach (Othemts)
  8. 00
    Licht von Connie Willis (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, change history?
  9. 01
    Der Hase mit den Bernsteinauge von Edmund de Waal (AmourFou)
    AmourFou: A very different story than The Hare with Amber Eyes but I found myself thinking of this book for its apt reinforcement of fin de siècle Vienna.
  10. 01
    Blackout von Connie Willis (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, Change history?
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Oh, I really wanted to like this book. The author spent 30 years writing this story of a time travelling top baseball player/famous pop star/famous author but it seems so contrived and unlikely that I just couldn't get into it and couldn't wait for it to end. I had to skim the last third of the book. ( )
  lucylove73 | Aug 31, 2021 |
I was surprised I kept going on this one. Wheeler is quite a guy - Ivy League baseball star, rock and roll star, famous writer. Somehow he gets transported to late 1800s Vienna in order to meet his father and Freud and his grandmother and no, he's not his own grandpa, though he does get to meet "the child Hitler." He also turns out to be a fabulous psychoanalyst. The forced Boston Brahmin accent that the reader used for many of the characters was grating. Painful. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
An impossible but quite enjoyable story. ( )
  mahallett | Feb 14, 2018 |
Wheeler Burden, an exiled member of the famous old Boston Burden family, grew up in San Francisco on a farm with his Jewish mother. His father, a living legend at the schools he went to and during the war, where he was captured by the Nazis while working with the French resistance, but died being tortured to death for information he would not give them. His grandfather Burden is a hard anti-Semite and therefore, Wheeler's mom had nothing to do with him. His grandmother, on the other hand is a sweet and wonderful woman that he gets to know once his grandfather dies and his mother agrees to send him to St. Gregory's private school, where the Burdens had gone to and like his father, he makes his mark there in baseball and academics. One of the professors, known as Hage teaches certain students about his time in Austria before the turn of the century, when everything was perfect. He takes Wheeler under his wing, as he did his father before him.

Wheeler grows up to be a rock musician who was at Woodstock and got stabbed at Altamont. In the mid-seventies he gave it all up for seemingly no reason. Around this time he inherits the work of his professor and sets about to make it into a book. This takes about fifteen years of hard work and it becomes a hit. When he is walking home from a book signing in the mid-eighties, he suddenly finds himself in a strangely familiar place. It is 1897 in the fin de siècle Vienna. He has no idea how he got here, but he quickly steals a suit and some money from an American.

In this amazing city, the cultural center of Europe, he meets famous thinkers and creators of the time in the coffee houses, he goes and visits Freud, before he becomes famous and has just come up with his Oedipus Complex. He tries to help Freud make his theories more clear and understandable. His mother was part of a group that helped Freud escape to London during the war and they spent lots of time trying to decipher Freud's work.

He also meets the love of his life, a girl named Emily James from Amherst, Massachusesttes. When they kiss for the first time, she becomes frightened of her feelings for him and disappears for a while. Then he finds out she is his grandmother Burden. But she isn't the only one he meets. His father appears as well. On the real time line, he has just been tortured by the Nazis and left for dead and in his last moments of life he thinks of this place that the Hage told him about and then he is there. His father, Dilly, tells him a few family secrets and how important his grandmother will be in the future and how he must not interfere with her marrying Burden, who is also in Vienna.

Wheeler finds it hard to let her go and in the end, the decision is made for him. But he is grateful to have gotten a chance to meet and get to know the mythical father who is now shown to be quite human and to fall in love with one of the most wonderful women of the century. He keeps a diary that comes back to haunt him in a way and passes through many hands, until Wheeler's mother gets it at the end of the book.

This was a fabulous book that really made you feel you were in the Ringstrasse in Vienna, a time of great political turmoil, where the rise of anti-Semitism is predicting the future of the 400,000 Jews in the city at that time, that will diminish to 124 after World War II. Mahler is there directing the symphony to Wagner in amazing ways, right before he becomes famous. Famous artists and thinkers of that time are there and you can really feel yourself there. I knew little about Austria before reading this book, but now I feel like I have lived there at the height of its existence. This is a tremendously good book written over the course of forty years by the author who started it in college as a short paper and then over the years added more and more as information became available about that special place in time. It was well worth the wait and I hope to find more books from this author without the long wait. ( )
  nicolewbrown | Feb 27, 2017 |
The Little Book – Seldon Edwards
4 stars
In 1988, the multi-talented Wheeler Burden finds himself instantly dislocated in time to the year 1897 and inexplicitly relocated from San Francisco to Vienna. As luck would have it Wheeler is uniquely prepared for his strange adventure. As events of the story evolve it becomes clear that Wheeler Burden’s life was destined to begin and end in the city of Vienna. I enjoyed the descriptive atmosphere of this story and its innumerable twits and turns. The time travel aspect of the story was not particularly believable, but the historical details made up for this weakness.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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This is the story of how, through a dislocation of time, my son, Frank Standish Burden III, the famous American rock-and-roll star of the 1970s, found himself in Vienna in the fall of 1897. It is a complicated story, full of extraordinary characters and wild improbabilities. Rather than dwell on those improbabilities, or the parts that require more thought and explanation, I will simply tell you what I know exactly as I know it and let you sort out the pieces for yourself, forgiving a ninety-year-old woman her various lapses of memory. As an aged poet once said, "I do not remember all the details, but what I remember, I do remember perfectly." And you will forgive this very subjective narrator her need to describe herself in the third person, as just another character in this remarkable tale. It is, after all, my son who is the center of this narrative. The world, of course, knew him as Wheeler, a name he acquired in the early 1950s, playing boys' baseball in the Sacramento Valley of California, exactly how we will come to later. So Wheeler it will be, as I reconstruct for you his story.
Flora Zimmerman Burden

Feather River, California, 2005
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Wheeler Burden did not think of visiting Berggasse 19 until the third day in Vienna, or at least there is no mention of it in the journal he kept with meticulous care from almost the moment of his arrival.
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The exiled scion of a prominent Boston family, forty-seven-year-old Wheeler Burden is living in 1988 San Francisco until he is mysteriously transported to fin de siècle Vienna, a city that he finds strangely familiar, where he finds a mentor in Sigmund Freud.

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