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Despite the title this story is really Charlie s story about how he nearly allows his obsession, his sense of isolation, and his ability to compartmentalize to rob him of his own identity In the end, he has not so much grown as he has acknowledged who he is, thereby coming into self awareness It is both a funny and sad book leaving the reader feeling both akin to Charlie and also at a distance from him Thus experiencing the world in much the same way Charlie does for he feels both a part of s Despite the title this story is really Charlie s story about how he nearly allows his obsession, his sense of isolation, and his ability to compartmentalize to rob him of his own identity In the end, he has not so much grown as he has acknowledged who he is, thereby coming into self awareness It is both a funny and sad book leaving the reader feeling both akin to Charlie and also at a distance from him Thus experiencing the world in much the same way Charlie does for he feels both a part of society and outside it He is both splendidly aware of himself of in the world and also living a grand illusion A great read I obtained a copy of Vernon Downs at the Boston Book Festival a few years back at a sale at one of the book tables after a reading I didn t read it until recently it sat on my bookshelf along with many other titles that I knew I would get to sooner or later Who are we How do we define ourselves Jaime Clark explores the questions of self identity and hidden motivations through the lens of Charlie Martens, trying to ingratiate himself to his ex girlfriend s favorite author in a convoluted and I obtained a copy of Vernon Downs at the Boston Book Festival a few years back at a sale at one of the book tables after a reading I didn t read it until recently it sat on my bookshelf along with many other titles that I knew I would get to sooner or later Who are we How do we define ourselves Jaime Clark explores the questions of self identity and hidden motivations through the lens of Charlie Martens, trying to ingratiate himself to his ex girlfriend s favorite author in a convoluted and emotionally evasive plot to win her back Charlie has had a lifetime of recreating himself His parents died in a house fire when he was a child For the rest of his life he bounced around from relative to relative, new location to new location, never staying anywherethan a few years In this way, Charlie s life has been a chameleon, a lifetime of recreation, of uprootedness At first glance it reads like a simple, uncomfortable thriller, a non sociopathic Tom Ripley for the New York literary set By sticking with the reactions of Charlie after events and not the events themselves, Clark creates what could have been a well written thriller and cautionary tale of identity theft and accountability gone wrong into something muchphilosophical, existential, and a treatise into what defines us as a person Do we ever rid ourselves of the idea of redefining ourselves, or are we cursed to never knowing who we really are Can we ever know who we really are The mechanism he had so heavily relied on throughout his life his innate ability to box his experiences occurred to him as an impediment against making connections that allow for personal growth If we never have a chance to define ourselves, if we re constantly adapting ourselves to our new surroundings, can we ever know what isn t an adaptation If there is no original, does it matter if we re practicing a masquerade This novella turns out to be a pleasant read I d never heard of Jaime Clarke but I will keep this author in my sight from now on Vernon Downs is a clever story about obsession and the cult of celebrity Mr Clarke raises the issue of the publishing industry and what it means to be an author.Well, the book is both original and well written. I prefer books with an interesting plot I feel like I got through the whole book and nothing happened I thought it was going in a direction where Charlie would do something crazy or interesting but he didn t He just pined over a girl, casually stalked an author and then decided to move on Meh. I won this book on goodreads The book is about a man whose parents were killed when he was very young He is passed from relative to relative as a young child He grows up and falls in love with Olivia However, Olivia doesn t love him She moves back to London, and Charlie Martens ingratiates himself with Olivia s favorite author, Vernon Downs He s hoping to win Olivia back Read how Charlie moves through that relationship and his relationship with others. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway So thank you I am going to give this book three stars because I thought the writing style was good and I didn t get bored or annoyed by the writing The story left a little bit to be desired for me, though It was about a guy who takes on the likes and dislikes of people around him and ends up becoming obsessed with the favorite author of a girl he is in love with The issues weren t relatable for me and the story wasn t compelling enough to get me to ca I won this book in a goodreads giveaway So thank you I am going to give this book three stars because I thought the writing style was good and I didn t get bored or annoyed by the writing The story left a little bit to be desired for me, though It was about a guy who takes on the likes and dislikes of people around him and ends up becoming obsessed with the favorite author of a girl he is in love with The issues weren t relatable for me and the story wasn t compelling enough to get me to care much about it |Free ♷ Vernon Downs ⚔ Fiction Charlie Martens is desperate for stability in an otherwise peripatetic life An explosion that killed his parents when he was young robbed him of normalcy and he was shuttled from relative to relative, left alone to decipher the world he encountered in order to cobble together an answer as to how he would live Ever the outcast, Charlie recognizes in Olivia, an international student from London, the sense of otherness he feels and their relationship seems to promise salvation But when Olivia abandons him, his desperate mind fixates on her favorite writer, Vernon Downs, who becomes an emblem for reunion with Olivia Charlie s quest takes him from Phoenix to New York City and when chance brings him into proximity to Vernon Downs, he quickly ingratiates himself into Downs s world Proximity invites certain temptations, though, and it isn t long before Charlie moves dangerously from fandom to apprentice to outright possession VERNON DOWNS is a gripping, hypnotically written and unnerving look at the dark side of literary adulation Jaime Clarke s tautly suspenseful novel is a cautionary tale for writers and readers alike after finishing it, you may start to think that JD Salinger had the right idea after all Tom Perrotta Moving and edgy in just the right way Love or lack of and Family or lack of is at the heart of this wonderfully obsessive novel Gary Shteyngart All strong literature stems from obsession VERNON DOWNS belongs to a tradition that includes Nicholson Baker s U and I, Geoff Dyer s Out of Sheer Rage, and for that matter Pale Fire What makes Clarke s excellent novel stand out isn t just its rueful intelligence, or its playful semi veiling of certain notorious literary figures, but its startling sadness VERNON DOWNS is first rate Matthew Specktor Jaime Clarke s VERNON DOWNS is a brilliant meditation on obsession, art, and celebrity Charlie Marten s mounting fixation with the titular Vernon is not only driven by the burn of heartbreak and the lure of fame, but also a lost young man s struggle to locate his place in the world VERNON DOWNS is an intoxicating novel, and Clarke is a dazzling literary talent Laura van den Berg An engrossing novel about longing and impersonation, which is to say, a story about the distance between persons, distances within ourselves Clarke s prose is infused with music and intelligence and deep feeling Charles Yu VERNON DOWNS is a fascinating and sly tribute to a certain fascinating and sly writer, but this novel also perfectly captures the lonely distortions of a true obsession Dana Spiotta I am happy to say that the positive words about this novel by Tom Perrota, an author that I like, encouraged me in a bid to win a copy from Goodreads and I am happy to say that he did not steer me wrong Most of us at one time or another have had an imaginary conversation with a celebrity that we admire and that is as far as it goes In the case of Charlie our protagonist, he is willing to go much farther than a passing fancy of imagination making this an interesting and well written journey. I won a copy of this book for free I thought the story concept sounded interesting boy falls in love, girl starts pulling away, boy will do anything to keep her affection, including stalking his girlfriend s favorite author and eventually taking on his persona However, the book really didn t hold my interest after Charlie meets Vernon Downs I found it kind of depressing. An interesting view of the thoughts of a man obsessed, and lost I was pulled into the story wondering just how far he would go.