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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Wonderful concept for a novel. Takes AMND and turns it on its head.


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However, the author has a challenge differentiating the numerous stories being told and, in all honestly, they become confused. Time is not taken to differentiate the main characters at the beginning and so they begin to run together. Clearly, stories are overlapping here but the overlaps are never resolved. The final resolution is satisfying as far as it goes but sadly one has not developed any sense of connection to the characters by the end - a connection that would have made the ending so much more powerful.

Too much remains unresolved One person found this helpful. The concept for this book really pulled me in. I wanted so much to fall in love with this story, as I thought the premise was simply fantastical genius and was something right up my alley! It begins magically enough, and the backdrop is wonderfully fleshed out. The author really gets you there, and you're with him for a good while, but then things veer off into a cacophany that becomes a bit unpalatable. I can see where he was going with this and perhaps it could have been a really epic work, but the characters seemed to devolve into ghosts of themselves, and where you wanted to really understand them and get inside their heads and discover what made them tick it seemed to fall short.

The final chapters seemed rushed and not thoroughly planned out. I felt myself wondering where this was going and why was it going there and however was this going to come to a beautiful conclusion. And in the end, I personally thought it just didn't. I felt like there was just so much going on, and perhaps the chaos of the last half of the book was entirely intentional, but I feel that it could have benefitted from a slightly more controlled form of chaos.

I found myself not caring much for the characters or what happened to them and finished the book only mildly satisfied. With a concept as awesome as this I really wanted to be pulled in and care, and I was really disappointed that I didn't. I'm giving this novel 3 stars on ambition alone. The reason I picked up this book is that I heard someone trustworthy say on NPR, talking about novels that should have been considered for the fiction Pulitzer which was not awarded this year that this should have been a contender.

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The plot outline sounded like fun, and there are moments where the book reads like a Shakespearean trip down the rabbit hole. But there was waaaay too much plot and too many characters, with too many complicated back stories, shoe-horned into the book. The fairies were quite vivid, but the humans were hard to keep straight -- I constantly had to look back to see which one was the gay guy with OCD who worked on the oncology ward, versus the straight lovelorn dude who was a tree doctor.

For me, it got more and more jumbled toward the big finish. I'm so glad to be done with this book! I did not enjoy this book. I appreciate what the author was trying to do, but it wasn't exciting and the characters didn't interest me. I love A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I would not even compare these two as the product description suggests.

I honestly couldn't even bring myself to read the last chapter. I will sometimes look across the room and see it sitting on my bookshelf and wonder why it's still there taking up a significant amount of space, where better books could be living. The best thing about this book is the cover.

Chris Adrian's novel "The Great Night" is probably best enjoyed by people who have lived in San Francisco, especially during the high period from the 's to 's. The novel gives you a magical tour through the City, as recounted in different scenes, sometimes fragmentary. Portions are vividly portrayed more realistically, for example, in death in a hospital, and by contrast, to the opposite, as absurdly funny pornographic images. To get a grasp of the characters in the book does not require much knowledge about the original Shakespeare "A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Apr 01, Larry H rated it liked it. Sometimes a book has a beautiful story at its core, but the thread tends to get lost in overcomplication. That's the way I felt about Chris Adrian's The Great Night, a well-written book that meshes the emotional, relationship-driven crises of three San Franciscans with characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, with mixed results. It's Midsummer Eve in Three strangers, each dealing with the wreckage of a relationship, enter Balboa Park, headed to the same party.

But unbeknownst to them, Ti Sometimes a book has a beautiful story at its core, but the thread tends to get lost in overcomplication. But unbeknownst to them, Titania, Oberon, and their court call the park their home as well. That night, deep in the throes of sadness over the end of her marriage, which dissolved following the death of her adopted son, Titania releases an ancient menace, which threatens the lives of the immortals, and the mortals alike. The three strangers, along with a group of homeless people rehearsing a musical version of Soylent Green, are sealed in the park—and forced to confront their emotionally turbulent pasts, with bizarre results.

I loved when Adrian spun the stories of the three strangers: Henry, a neurotic, gay oncologist dealing with the breakup of his most long-term relationship, and memories of being kidnapped as a child; Molly, suffering from the sudden suicide of her boyfriend; and Will, an arborist in love with one woman yet compulsively drawn to affairs with others. But sadly, he spent far too much time on the strange world of Titania and her minions, and the kaleidoscopic adventures that ensue were far more jarring than fulfilling.

I'd love it if I could learn what actually happened to the characters in this story, because that would be a book truly well worth reading. Jan 20, Tasha Robinson rated it really liked it. A startlingly strange, rich novel that has repeatedly been described as a retelling of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," but is something more interesting — an original story that borrows some of the characters and a couple of plot twists.

This is top-flight literary fantasy, a Neil Gaiman-esque story about myths and magic and how they intersect with the real world. My only quibble with the book is that I felt like I got to know these characters extremely well, and then the story largely disposes of them. Their present isn't as well-realized as their past, and in the end, the ending seems rushed and full of loose threads. It's no insult to say my major problem with the book was that I wanted more of it by the end.

Aug 26, Kerfe rated it it was amazing Shelves: I did have trouble keeping the characters straight, yet somehow at the same time the storylines of each were easy to follow and understand. There are so many ways the world can damage us, promise more than it can deliver. There are so many ways to fall short of what is asked of us, to fail to follow through on the emotions hidden deep inside.


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  • We run and run, but in the end lies the same fate. The demons are real. But even so, and still, " She hadn't meant to enjoy that unexpected feast, but she had, and it made her feel big in her soul We can turn into ourselves, or we can reach out a helping hand to others who also feel the sorrows that living brings. We can wallow in what is missing, or try to fill it with something that also has value--never a replacement, but a different way of seeing what is and can be.

    The characters in "The Great Night" come to the park with different baggage and travel the dream-night in ways that reflect what they brought. They walk out changed but not resolved. Jul 12, Beverly rated it really liked it. The Great Night is another Midsummer Night's Dream with Titania playing the greater role along with three mortals who get trapped in the garden with her and a bunch of fairies just after she's released Puck from being bound.

    One was taken in as a boy and thrown out again without memory of it. It's an interesting retelling, one that was hard for me to track for a good bit of it because the story switches from one or other of the main characters to an The Great Night is another Midsummer Night's Dream with Titania playing the greater role along with three mortals who get trapped in the garden with her and a bunch of fairies just after she's released Puck from being bound.

    It's an interesting retelling, one that was hard for me to track for a good bit of it because the story switches from one or other of the main characters to another to bring us up to date with their lives. And yet the story is compelling with an ending that isn't awful but not happy either. Apr 12, Marc Kozak rated it really liked it Shelves: I really can't resist a mostly realist book with supernatural elements. After finishing a book like this, I walk around for days wishing it was real.

    I have a long history of secretly desiring magical explanations for the most mundane of things. Don't you want to live in a world where, instead of casually explaining to people that the reason you are humming "Call Me Maybe" is because you must have heard it in the background somewhere, the real reason is because the Bird Prince of the Hills neede I really can't resist a mostly realist book with supernatural elements. Don't you want to live in a world where, instead of casually explaining to people that the reason you are humming "Call Me Maybe" is because you must have heard it in the background somewhere, the real reason is because the Bird Prince of the Hills needed to reclaim his usurped throne, and used the songs of Carly Rae Jespen which is an anagram of Pearl Jay Censer to transmit a spell through the airwaves in order to use the combined aural might of millions of people singing the same song in unison, thereby filling his bird spirit with enough power to fight off the Dark Cardinal Prince, the resulting victory of which is celebrated by all of bird-kind, which we perceive as birds singing?

    This is my big dumb wish before I go to bed every night. I'm not sure why I do this - it's not like real life doesn't have enough surrealism in it. I guess I just think it would be so exciting to go through what the characters in Chris Adrian's fantastic second novel go through. Three humans walk into a park one night and are suddenly brought into a war between magical beings. This may seem silly, but it is actually told in a refreshingly non-smirking, and at times terrifying manner, while never losing sight of the human theme of overcoming sadness. What makes this really work is Adrian's outstanding imagination and impeccable prose.

    He writes a lot like Jonathan Franzen - sharp dialogue, beautiful turns of phrase, and relevant portrayals of modern suffering. The story weaves in and out of the three human's lives, covering their troubled pasts and sad presents out of order, until they all weave together spectacularly. At times you can't see where any of it is going, but by the end it all comes together extremely well.

    I can't remember being satisfied by an ending as much as this one in a long time. And of course, the magic! If you've read anything by Adrian, you know he is one warped dude. You don't even need to be versed in Shakespeare to enjoy this - the connections are more tangential than anything.

    Adrian populates his faerie world in a very similar vibe to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series - everything is dark and sinister, and mortals clearly have no place in the world they find themselves in. Which also got me thinking - how come every story like this ends in complete tragedy for the humans? Why are we always playthings for these otherworldly beings, and when they tire with us, our memories are wiped and we're doomed to roam the world in a depressive haze until we unceremoniously die by getting ironically murdered by a child molester.

    Just once I want to see a story where the mortal is completely unfazed by all of the magic, and totally bitch slaps the faerie queen. At any rate, I'm off to start writing a novel based on that last sentence. What you need to know is that Chris Adrian is one of the most intelligent and imaginative writers there is today and he's under 40! His last book, The Children's Hospital , was 5-star madness, and this one is almost just as good.

    May 16, Cheryl Gatling added it. This was one weird book. There are some elements that are the same: But this book is a good deal darker, and has details that are so bizarre it makes you wonder what the author was smoking when he wrote it. It's funny, too, though. The Great Night is Mi This was one weird book.

    The Great Night is Midsummer's Night, the faeries' high holiday, when they have a feast, and do even more singing and dancing than usual. On this particular Great Night, however, the faeries don't feel much like celebrating. Titania and Oberon's changeling child has died of leukemia in a hospital! Titania, in her grief, has set Puck free. This Puck is no mischievous sprite, but a flesh-eating monster who had been kept chained by magic. Now he is on the rampage. Faeries scatter, howling that they are all going to die.

    The humans who have had the bad luck to get caught in the middle of this muddle also run, as much in bewilderment as fear. Detailed flashbacks tell the backstories of these humans, each one suffering a profound grief. As events in the park tie the fates of these humans together, we learn that their pasts are tied together, too.

    All three have been touched by dazzling, seductively-beautiful, yet life-destroying faerie magic. How will it work out? Can it work out? Until it does, if it does, it sure is a wild ride. Jun 17, Danny rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. But whereas the play, as far as memory serves, focuses mainly on the relationships between the confused lovers lost in the wood, this one spends just as much time, if not more, talking about things from the Faeries' point of view, which I totally dig.

    Have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. I mean, there are lots of things about changelings and magic a This book is a sort of retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream by that perennial favorite Billy Shakespeare. I mean, there are lots of things about changelings and magic and how dealing with Faeries leaves you broken for life in terms of interpersonal relationships. So this time around Titania and Oberon have set up camp in a park in San Francisco, except that Oberon has skipped town and Titania's depressed and decides she should just release Puck from his bondage and let him wreak vengeance on the world.

    While this is happening three people on their way to a party get lost in the park along with some homeless folks putting on a musical based on the movie Soylent Green. There's a lot of sex in here, of all stripes, so don't pick up the book if that's going to bother you. Sep 16, Nathan rated it it was ok Shelves: Did not enjoy, alas. Titania and Oberon are separated, and bored Titania frees Puck while at a feast under a tree in a SF public park.

    Lucifer Soundtrack S02E09 Great Nigh feat Shovels Rope by NEEDTOBREATHE

    Four interesting SF residents are caught up in the subsequent action. However, the novel isn't about the action or resolving the situation, the situation is a premise by which to explore the messed-up humans and their backstory. The story is told in long three-or-four part sentences, which have a rhythm and excitement of their own, but between t Did not enjoy, alas.


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    • The story is told in long three-or-four part sentences, which have a rhythm and excitement of their own, but between this style and the fact that it hinges on some screwed-up people, the book just didn't hook me. I want to have a story or more precise grumbles to set down about this book, but the short fact is that nothing really stood up and grabbed me to say "Read Me!

      I did, but didn't enjoy it and won't pursue others by Adrian. Feb 07, Maria rated it did not like it Shelves: I really wanted to like this book. I loved the premise, and the first half of the book was really promising. I was especially interested in the story line of Titania and Oberon and their experience of mortal loss in the death of their "adopted" changeling child. But overall I was quite disappointed with this book. It just failed to tie the stories together in a meaningful way, and the final twists were more frustrating than surprising or exciting.

      I didn't care much for any of the characters Not that is the be all and end all, I understand that, but there was nothing to hold on to What can I say. I wanted to like this book. But in the end Jun 14, Maggi rated it it was ok. To my mind, The Great Night is a mix of genius and insanity, but unfortunately the scales tip over too far into madness.

      Adrian has the potential to be a mindblowingly great writer, but this book is just too much. I loved the back stories of the three lost characters in the park, and Titania and Oberon's loss of their Boy, but ultimately the fairie stuff was too hard to follow and at times just too darn annoying and distracting.

      The references to Shakespeare are nicely done, and the characters' To my mind, The Great Night is a mix of genius and insanity, but unfortunately the scales tip over too far into madness. The references to Shakespeare are nicely done, and the characters' interconnections interesting, but the whole story is so cluttered and dense that its impact is lost. Adrian has so much to say that he uses too many words.

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      I would read another book by him and hope for better editing. Sep 16, Kim Sheehan rated it liked it. I liked the concept of this book: The writing allowed me to see the story in my head. I loved the backstory of Oberon, Titania and Boy, which reflected the author's background in pediatric oncology. What I didn't like was that this story was just too darn hard to follow. I couldn't keep all the backstories of the mortals straight, and those backs I liked the concept of this book: I couldn't keep all the backstories of the mortals straight, and those backstories kept morphing in interesting yet confusing ways.

      I ended up really speeding through the rest of the book because I didn't care that much about how it ended. Jun 25, Eoin rated it liked it Shelves: The too many characters were given overly equitable, confusingly similar back-stories and the end was unbalancingly abrupt. I'm not sure this is quite readable if one is unfamiliar with A Midsummer Night's Dream , and if one is this book is unnecessary. Worth it for Titania. Apr 20, Theresa rated it liked it.

      I'm still at a loss as to how to describe this book other than weird. One of the oddest things I've read in a while.

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      Really, that's about it. Well written, definitely, but not sure I really liked it. It's a retelling of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with a contemporary, non-fantasy-like feeling. I'm pretty sure my favorite character was Huff-a homeless guy who was convinced that the mayor of San Francisco was eating his fellow homeless peers. V I'm still at a loss as to how to describe this book other than weird. Jul 03, Mary Newcomb added it. Somehow I got the idea this book might be appropriate for my Literary Society to read.

      That idea is wrong. The book is lyrically written and presents an interesting modern spin on A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is, also, confusing and far-reaching in ways which did not advance the story. I am not putting it in my Do Not Read category but am considering initiating a Guarded Recommendation category on its behalf.

      May 16, Jamie rated it liked it Shelves: A perfect example of great literary snippets lost in something that just doesn't quite hang together. This retelling of a Midsummer Nights Dream at first had me caring about each character and liking how they meshed, but eventually it just meandered into this long guitar solo and it was a slog to the end. Which is too bad because he writes some amazing sentences. I think he needs a strong heavy handed editor. Jul 23, Don rated it really liked it. While I found this book a big strange, and at time difficult to follow ultimately I found it to be well written and quite imaginative.

      The many flawed and deranged character's development, told through flashbacks weaved together well for a good fantasy story. Apr 13, Kristen Boers rated it it was ok. I remember reading the changeling story in the New Yorker, featuring Oberon and Titania and thinking "I want more of this, always. May 28, Julie rated it it was amazing. A total and delightful surprise. Apr 02, Martha Toll added it. Here's my review of The Great Night. Even so, we tend to forget about him as we get ensnared in the ensu Here's my review of The Great Night.

      Even so, we tend to forget about him as we get ensnared in the ensuing drama.

      The Great Night by Chris Adrian - review

      The Great Night is not. All does not end well for some of the characters, and although the book is airily narrated, the real comedy is the human comedy — the follies and foibles and heartbreaking misadventures of the people. Indeed, more than fleeing doomed relationships, the humans are fleeing psychological trauma.

      Henry has extreme obsessive compulsive disorder, which ultimately causes the destruction of his relationship. When he returns home, it is to his abandoned single mother, an alcoholic. Henry cannot fill in the gap in his past until the end of the book. They force their biological children into a traveling singing group while a parade of foster children destabilize and damage the family as they temporarily pass through it.

      The foster children resonate with the lost boys who populate the last part of the book. His considerable technical prowess is evident as we ride wave upon wave of reality interspersed with fantasy. Both his medical background and divinity studies inform the narrative. The Great Night refers to a night of faerie revelry — when all the madcap, upside-down antics come together — but it suggests a Christian allegory as well.

      This question is followed by a discussion of forgetting, intimating that society forgets and ignores our humanity, or betrays and denies it, as in the case of Judas Iscariot. It is ironic that the faerie Titania, casting spells and transfiguring herself throughout the book, is the most three-dimensional of the characters.

      The descriptions of both the death of her child and the death of her marriage are emotionally convincing. They make Titania sympathetic, even as she wreaks havoc. It is harder to connect with the humans, whose stories unfold at breakneck speed across geography and time, including the future. The furious pacing interferes with the possibility of an empathic read. We can hardly absorb the human suffering; we are too busy trying to keep up with the characters and their pasts, hurtling by. The novel is saturated with sex and sexual imagery.

      But is it sexy? And is it meant to be? Like Hollinghurst, Adrian is also a courageous and brazen writer, but communicating sensuality does not seem to be his goal. Despite the intensity of the drama, Adrian is a dispassionate observer. He brings the same powers of observation to the straight world. Not until the end of The Great Night do we understand where Adrian is going. Love, Molly realizes, is better than anything else, even faerie magic. Henry, too, arrives at this conclusion. Loss is something from which we never recover.

      A mortal woman who tells Titania that her grief over her dead child will get better over time, immediately contradicts herself. Unlike their Shakespearean counterparts, relationships do not always work out. Moreover, we are responsible for killing our relationships — just as Titania destroys her marriage. Each page is so densely packed that reading it feels like drinking from a fire hose. Adrian has wisdom to impart, but you may have to wait to absorb it until you put the book down.

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      Martha Toll is executive director of the Butler Family Fund, a nationwide philanthropy focused on ending homelessness and the death penalty. She has been featured as a book commentator on NPR and has just received representation for her debut novel. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Chris Adrian was born in Washington D. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in In , he was chosen as one of the 20 best writers under 40 by The New Yorker.