The Beautiful Miscellaneous



Nathan Nelson Is The Average Son Of A Genius His Father, A Physicist Of Small Renown, Has Prodded Him Toward Greatness From An Early Age Enrolling Him In Whiz Kid Summer Camps, Taking Him To The Icy Tundra Of Canada To Track A Solar Eclipse, And Teaching Him College Algebra But Despite Samuel Nelson S Efforts, Nathan Remains OrdinaryThen, In The Summer Of , Everything Changes While Visiting His Small Town Grandfather In Michigan, Nathan Is Involved In A Terrible Accident After A Brief Clinical Death Which He Later Recalls As A Lackluster Affair Lasting Less Than The Length Of A Top Pop Song He Falls Into A Coma When He Awakens, Nathan Finds That Everyday Life Is Radically Different His Perceptions Of Sight, Sound, And Memory Have Been Irrevocably Changed The Doctors And His Parents Fear Permanent Brain Damage But The Truth Of His Condition Is Unexpected And Leads To A Renewed Chance For Nathan To Find His Place In The WorldThinking That His Son S Altered Brain Is Worthy Of Serious Inquiry, Samuel Arranges For Nathan To Attend The Brook Mills Institute, A Midwestern Research Center Where Savants, Prodigies, And Neurological Misfits Are Studied And Their Specialties Applied Immersed In This Strange Atmosphere Where An Autistic Boy Can Tell You What Day Christmas Falls On In But Can T Tie His Shoelaces, Where A Medical Intuitive Can Diagnose Cancer During A Long Distance Phone Call With A Patient Nathan Begins To Unravel The Mysteries Of His New Mind He Also Tries To Make Peace With The Crushing Weight Of His Father S Expectations The Beautiful Miscellaneous Is An Extraordinary Follow Up To Dominic Smith S Critically Acclaimed Debut, The Mercury Visions Of Louis Daguerre This Dazzling New Novel Explores The Fault Lines That Can Cause A Family To Drift Apart And The Unexpected Events That Can Pull Them Back TogetherThe Beautiful Miscellaneous

Dominic grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Seattle, Washington He is the author of five novels, including The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Book Review Editors Choice Dominic s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Texas Monthly, The Australian, and The New York Times He has received literature fellowships from the Australia Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts He teaches writing in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers More information can be found on his website www.dominicsmith.net.

[EPUB] ✵ The Beautiful Miscellaneous ✸ Dominic Smith – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 329 pages
  • The Beautiful Miscellaneous
  • Dominic Smith
  • English
  • 02 January 2018
  • 0743271238

10 thoughts on “The Beautiful Miscellaneous

  1. says:

    There is so much to say about The Beautiful Miscellaneous yet I find myself struggling for words I am no stranger to the work of Dominic Smith Last year I read The Last Painting of Sara De Vos and absolutely loved it The Beautiful Miscellaneous is not a new novel it s new to Australia, but it was actually published in the US in 2007 It s interesting to note this, because you would think that being an earlier novel I think this was his second it wouldn t be as good as hisrecent wor There is so much to say about The Beautiful Miscellaneous yet I find myself struggling for words I am no stranger to the work of Dominic Smith Last year I read The Last Painting of Sara De Vos and absolutely loved it The Beautiful Miscellaneous is not a new novel it s new to Australia, but it was actually published in the US in 2007 It s interesting to note this, because you would think that being an earlier novel I think this was his second it wouldn t be as good as hisrecent work, but this is not the case I adored The Beautiful Miscellaneous Really loved it in a want to see it turned into a movie and give every one of my friends a copy kind of way It s profound and touching and exquisitely written Dominic Smith paints with words He strings them together and creates a masterpiece that you can see and feel, the imagery is so vivid I felt that with The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, and I felt that with The Beautiful Miscellaneous as well It s not something you can learn you re either a literary artist or you aren t Very early on in this novel I had occasion to ponder over the prose I wonder if we all carry our deaths packaged inside us the time, the date, the manner bundled and inert Maybe what I carried all those years until the accident was not shrewd intelligence or the strange light of genius but the glimmer of my own death Maybe that was what my parents were really looking at when they stared into my eyes and sensed something extraordinary Nathan Nelson s parents want him to be a genius But he s not When he is seventeen, he is seriously injured in a car crash and he wakes up from a coma different His brain is no longer the same He s developed what doctors suspect is a condition that attaches sensory experiences to his thoughts and consequently he has enhanced memory skills His father now believes this is Nathan s chance to be the genius he was always destined to be Of course, without even reading the novel, you know this is not going to be the case, but that s not the point The point is the journey the relationship between father and son, and the transition of Nathan from boyhood into adulthood Both of these are defining factors of the novel, separate but also intertwined because Nathan s relationship with his father, and his mother to a lesser extent, are serious inhibitors to his ability to grow up and get on with his life We see this build throughout the novel and as Nathan s life enters a stagnant phase, much to his mother s distress, as an observer looking in from the outside, we see all the reasons why he reaches this point with perfect clarity and the deepest of sympathy There are shades of John Green that come through in this novel Given this is the story of a seventeen year old boy, there are scenes that remind me a lot of Paper Towns, particularly those that include Nathan s close friends Dominic is spot on with the teenage wit and sarcasm, the emotional incompetence and the struggle of being loyal to your parents even when they are crushingly embarrassing There is a scene towards the end of the novel when Toby, Nathan s blind musical prodigy best friend, jumps up carefully, because he s blind onto the roof of Nathan s car They are stuck in a traffic jam, caused by Nathan s car stalling due to old age, and are being assaulted by a barrage of horns and insults Toby stands on the roof of the offending vehicle and with his cane remember that he s blind he begins to conduct the bleating horns This is one of those scenes within a novel that you never forget It s brilliant, funny, poignant, all the things a memorable scene should be and it s entirely representative of what this novel is all about I was a bit nervous about reading this novel, despite also being excited to have received it I was concerned that it might be overly scientific, given that Nathan s father is a physicist and the subject matter is all about kids who are gifted and geniuses It does lean heavily into physics, but in an entirely accessible way, and I have to say that I simply do not understand physics at all, but I still wasn t overwhelmed by the content of this novel and the inclusion of so much physics did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the story I can t say I learnt anything physics related, my brain just seems to refuse the subject as if it s a completely different language, but I sailed along happily just absorbing the details within the context they were intended After Nathan had his accident and his new memory skills emerged, Dominic Smith began to include throughout the text at key moments somewhat random facts that Nathan had memorised Yet their randomness was very much by design each fact was directly linked to an emotion Nathan was feeling within that moment, ready for you to decode I thoroughly enjoyed how Dominic did this It was clever and complimentary and really stood out to me as a unique little extra touch.To finish up with, I want to share this line, one of my favourite from the entire novel The night felt cracked open, alive with possibility How divine So much said with so little words, but like I said above, a literary artist Dominic Smith is firmly cemented in as one of my favourite authors After two exquisite reads, I have full certainty now that any novel of his that I pick up I am sure to enjoy I highly recommend this novel to readers who appreciated stories about life, family relationships, friendship, love and the universe It has all of this andIt s also set in 1987 and has some pretty cool 80s moments that fellow children from that era will appreciate.Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of The Beautiful Miscellaneous for review

  2. says:

    2.5 Interesting idea, and I found the beginning interesting, but I didn t feel the second half was as good as the first half The Last Painting of Sara de Vos was much better 2.5 Interesting idea, and I found the beginning interesting, but I didn t feel the second half was as good as the first half The Last Painting of Sara de Vos was much better

  3. says:

    I really, really liked this book to begin with, but it was kind of steadily downhill from the accident on the turning point that takes place about a third of the way in I actually wished I had stopped reading it, because the last third of the book was just disjointed and not nearly as well written as the first It was an interesting premise, but the execution was lacking I liked it much better when it was just the non brilliant son trying to be happy with who he was Anyway, I would not reco I really, really liked this book to begin with, but it was kind of steadily downhill from the accident on the turning point that takes place about a third of the way in I actually wished I had stopped reading it, because the last third of the book was just disjointed and not nearly as well written as the first It was an interesting premise, but the execution was lacking I liked it much better when it was just the non brilliant son trying to be happy with who he was Anyway, I would not recommend this to my LDS friends, because the content toward the end wasn t really up to standards Still, the first part was so well done and totally clean that it might be worth reading just that part and then stopping

  4. says:

    This book had a lot of good momentum until the BIG event with the father no spoiler here Then the author seemed to flail around in a lot of disconnected writing flow was this just the desperate cobbling together of an ending, or was this to reflect the main character s muddled thoughts that followed I have no idea what the meanderings, cop encounter, or secret photographs have AT ALL to do with the story, and felt they were disjointed and unnecessary Of course, he could not find the lett This book had a lot of good momentum until the BIG event with the father no spoiler here Then the author seemed to flail around in a lot of disconnected writing flow was this just the desperate cobbling together of an ending, or was this to reflect the main character s muddled thoughts that followed I have no idea what the meanderings, cop encounter, or secret photographs have AT ALL to do with the story, and felt they were disjointed and unnecessary Of course, he could not find the letter IMMEDIATELY after, but, still I could predict how the book would end and found that piece satisfying but the getting there was tedious

  5. says:

    Later that night I drove home slowly in a light rain The night felt cracked open, alive with possibility One of many passages I underlined, I start with that because protagonist Nathan Nelson s experience in the car that night is just what this novel delivers to the reader Aliveness with possibility Dominic Smith is my new favorite synesthesia writer He has done a beautiful thing with this novel, incorporating numerous layers of difference into Nathan s unusual upbringing as the son of Later that night I drove home slowly in a light rain The night felt cracked open, alive with possibility One of many passages I underlined, I start with that because protagonist Nathan Nelson s experience in the car that night is just what this novel delivers to the reader Aliveness with possibility Dominic Smith is my new favorite synesthesia writer He has done a beautiful thing with this novel, incorporating numerous layers of difference into Nathan s unusual upbringing as the son of a brilliant if awkward particle physicist and a supremely patient homemaker As an adult he confesses, Normal was something I knew nothing about I d grown up with a particle physicist, an astronaut, and a woman who kept house with the pluck and verve of a gymnast At this stage, Nathan is desperate to fill in some gaps, hopefully to learn what a normal family might look like, even while the reader is desperate for Nathan to dig deeper into his own background and to uncover a few truths yet to be unearthed closer to home The Beautiful Miscellaneous features a teenage protagonist who aches to benormal and at the same time, he wishes to beunusual,gifted,likely to please his physicist father who s on the look out from the time of his son s birth for proof of genius However, Nathan suspects that his intelligence is only slightly above average, and as a result, he fears he will ultimately disappoint his father In fact, as a boy, he tests the waters of disappointment by purposely losing a highly competitive science bee while his parents watch The coming of age story Smith weaves into this novel is lovely Nathan begins to understand his parents personas through the clarity of youth, and part of the joy of this novel is witnessing the awkwardness of his parents relationship with one another and with others Collision is an important theme Nathan is nearly killed in a car accident that does kill his grandfather and induces Nathan s unusual synesthesia But as much as collision is a theme, so too is an odd inability to connect, much less collide Discovering Nathan s entree into adulthood through the awkwardness of missed connections is almostpowerful than the focus on accidental connections, induced collisions in physics, and crashes and conflicts in philosophy Between father and son, we see miscommunication sometimes caused not by mixed messages but by missed messages Yet, by the novel s end, Smith delivers a clarifying view of Nathan s situation that sits well with the reader Especially as Nathan s relationships evolve with highly gifted friends Teresa who can see and diagnose disease and Toby, a blind musical prodigy, this connection collision lack of connection theme comes to light In fact, light, darkness, and vision is another continuing trope The ability to see at all, Toby see through ordeeply, Teresa see colors and sounds where others might not, Nathan or see from great distances Whit, the malaprop loving astronaut are beautifully rendered And we really can t help but fall in love with Nathan s dad, right alongside Nathan, as this young man finally figures out his father.Grateful for the recommendation that led to me this one, I definitely will look for Dominic Smith s other works

  6. says:

    Nathan Nelson is, as a child, involved in a terrible car accident, dies briefly, and awakens from a coma gifted with synethesia sort of like a permanent acid trip hearing colors, tasting sounds, smelling television, etc and an Eidetic or photographic memory His father Samuel had for years, to no avail, tried to coax out Nathan s genius, only to discover that his son was average, normal, unremarkable.But after the accident, Nathan s parents send him to a special school for special childr Nathan Nelson is, as a child, involved in a terrible car accident, dies briefly, and awakens from a coma gifted with synethesia sort of like a permanent acid trip hearing colors, tasting sounds, smelling television, etc and an Eidetic or photographic memory His father Samuel had for years, to no avail, tried to coax out Nathan s genius, only to discover that his son was average, normal, unremarkable.But after the accident, Nathan s parents send him to a special school for special children, including a teenaged girl who is medically intuitive and can diagnose cancer, tumors, multiple sclerosis, by the tone timbre of one s voice a blind, sex obsessed piano prodigy a savant who can t tie his shoes but knows what day of the week 12 October 1843 fell on and a man who replicates citiscapes in his head and then builds them The Beautiful Miscllaneous explores how the children s gifts isolate them from the rest of the world, and how their parents expectations shape and preclude certain paths before they the children have any say in the matter It s a beautiful novel that verges on poetry at times, on account of the narrator s synesthetic descriptions and the writer s rhetorical brilliance It is a novel about the Permanent Search, the sort of hyper stringent expectations we have of life that preclude happiness and keep us forever Outside of what we need desperately to be In

  7. says:

    This book has a really promising set up despite the teachings and urgings of his genius physicist father, 17 year old Nathan has remained disappointingly average then he survives a near fatal car crash and in the process gets his brain rewired The first hundred or so pages, the build up to the accident you already know is going to occur, are like a pleasantly held breath, full of anticipation unfortunately, once the accident happens, and Nathan now gifted with synesthesia one of my favorite This book has a really promising set up despite the teachings and urgings of his genius physicist father, 17 year old Nathan has remained disappointingly average then he survives a near fatal car crash and in the process gets his brain rewired The first hundred or so pages, the build up to the accident you already know is going to occur, are like a pleasantly held breath, full of anticipation unfortunately, once the accident happens, and Nathan now gifted with synesthesia one of my favorite rare in life but awesome in literature neurological phenomena and an accompanying enhanced memory reenters the world, the book turns into a muchstraightforward father son narrative It still contains a lot of beautiful imagery, but it s basically a coming of age story it seriously almost concludes with the protagonist losing his virginity , and it s not different enough to set it apart from the 85 billion other coming of age stories I ve read

  8. says:

    I enjoyed this book enormously The characters were vivid and the relationship between the father and the son was compelling Really, it was a terrific novel.and a sign of that was that the day I was going to finish it, I was torn I didn t want to stop reading but I also didn t want it to end My one quibble the book ends abruptly, I felt the entire novel builds to a beautiful climax and then we are, all of the sudden, in the final chapter really an epilogue , some years in the future an I enjoyed this book enormously The characters were vivid and the relationship between the father and the son was compelling Really, it was a terrific novel.and a sign of that was that the day I was going to finish it, I was torn I didn t want to stop reading but I also didn t want it to end My one quibble the book ends abruptly, I felt the entire novel builds to a beautiful climax and then we are, all of the sudden, in the final chapter really an epilogue , some years in the future and so much is tied up in two sentences here, three sentences there I wish the novel had gone on a bit .or perhaps ended with the penultimate chapter

  9. says:

    I liked this book probably because I also had a particle physicist father albeit not nearly as eccentric as this one and I am also synesthetic I liked the descriptions of synesthesia, they really rang true, which is difficult because it s so hard to capture the experience in words The relationships and characters are very real I kind of wanted , though, in terms of what happened with this gift in the protagonist s life.

  10. says:

    wow.one of those books you can t stop thinking about.an intriguing read.I can t wait to pick it up and read it again.

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