Leaving the Atocha Station has ratings and reviews. Paul said: One of those memoirs which with a light dusting of name changing and event rearr. Leaving the Atocha Station [Ben Lerner] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American . For the duration of Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner’s protagonist, Adam Gordon, is in Spain on a fellowship. If anyone asks, he is writing.

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Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Lerner is an awkward liar and constantly bracketed by the need to maintain the artistic vagueness which he imagines saves him from discovery and ridicule. He also doesn’t seem to notice that he’s more or less a non-gendered metrosexual who, when things go bad, checks himself out in the mirror. But really, his “research” is taking quite a different shape. I am, I realize with some bewilderment, in the minority in this view; the book has been included in numerous year-end “best of” lists, so clearly I am missing something.

I was a bit worried this book might be slightly obnoxious; it was actually a really pleasant surprise. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Lerner’s mother is the well-known psychologist Harriet Lerner. Recommended to fans of Geoff Dyer.

Because all of his clauses are subordinate, because all words are juxtaposed, the reader is free to extrapolate whatever significance or authorial intent they find the most atocya. His deliberate, analytical voice makes his confessions more humorous and unsettling.

REVIEW: Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner – Electric Literature

Each of the books are unique but they often bring up similar issues and themes. But we must be wary of such an interpretation: Born and raised in Topeka, which figures in each of his books of poetry, Lerner is a graduate of Topeka High School where he was a standout in debate and forensics.


This book has two good things going for it: I was amazed that Lerner was able to pull this off – a hugely risky book that could have fallen flat on it’s face. The dead mother bit works well, so he uses it on Isabel another Spanish girl he might love. The kid can write, but this book doesn’t add up to anything worth reading.

Jul 03, Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it. Jul 24, Denae rated it did not like it Shelves: View all 3 comments.

Lerner has this magician-like associative capacity. But he really hates the would-be expatriate intellectuals “who, when they spoke Spanish, exaggerated the peninsular lisp”, and hates them mostly — as will be obvious — because he is one of them himself. All the while Adam struggles with a pervasive sense of fraudulence, or a fear of being exposed. And then there are those rudderless bastards who have no real sense of what happened, who faked compliance with parental and then social definitions of success without ever fully investing and were rewa There are obvious winners in a meritocratic system – there are the chosen ones blessed with enough genetic and generational advantages to be comfortably pre-positioned over all competitors.

Now there were three guards in the room—the lanky guard from 57, the short woman who always guarded 56, and an older guard with improbably long silver hair who must have heard the most recent outburst from the hall.

Ben Lerner | excerpt of Leaving the Atocha Station

He fears all language is a betrayal of experience, that it is impossible to even experience reality in the world today. Lerner is an American poet, novelist, and critic. He has a way of arranging his face that indicates a whole litany of meanings ranging from political to contemptuous. I read Leaving the Atocha Station in Madrid, which undoubtedly helped me enjoy its tale of a young American poet adrift in the Spanish city. May 11, Michael rated it it was amazing. Lists with This Book. In Spanish I found it profound.


He walks with purpose so it seems as though he has somewhere to go. All page references are to: It must remain a possibility when it passes out of his hands. Jul 06, Ivan Goldman rated it it was ok. The inverse is true of fiction. However, the fact that it is an Asbury line, a poet Adam reads deeply and is profoundly influenced by, also implies a draining of realistic meaning from the event along with an emotional distancing for Adam.

Like, the process of reading it is just so lazy and such a pleasure. Our intelligentsia distrust strong belief, open conviction. I just hate those kinds of books. Sometimes, he uses the novel form for meditations on his chosen medium: This is how he spends all day every day, with the inclusion of Arturo and Teresa, artsy friends he meets who immediately champion his work as a poet, and Isabel, a love interest who he seems to fall harder for when he realizes he has competition.

Then reveal him as an unreliable narrator of his own story.

It was the deadliest day since the invasion began. This book is a sort of, choose life!

Regardless, he should have stuck to it rather than prose. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Still, well worth it for the finely modulated prose. Levaing idea first appears in the text in the context of translation: Later Adam witnesses the aftermath of the Madrid train bombings.

Since his books were so great it only stands to reason that his recommendation must be tinged with equal brilliance, right? The guards disbanded with, it seemed to me, less relief than sadness, and I found myself following this man, this great artist, out of the museum and into the preternaturally bright day.