The Manual of Detection

The Manual of Detection In this tightly plotted yet mind expanding debut novel an unlikely detective armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people s d
  • Title: The Manual of Detection
  • Author: Jedediah Berry
  • ISBN: 9781594202117
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Manual of Detection
    In this tightly plotted yet mind expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people s dreams In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at a huge, imperious detective agency All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the repoIn this tightly plotted yet mind expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people s dreams In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at a huge, imperious detective agency All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he s filed for the illustrious detective Travis Sivart When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren t so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection think The Art of War as told to Damon Runyon Unwin mounts his search for Sivart, but is soon framed for murder, pursued by goons and gunmen, and confounded by the infamous femme fatale Cleo Greenwood Meanwhile, strange and troubling questions proliferate why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern day dental work Where have all the city s alarm clocks gone Why is Unwin s copy of the manual missing Chapter 18 When he discovers that Sivart s greatest cases including the Three Deaths of Colonel Baker and the Man Who Stole November 12th were solved incorrectly, Unwin must enter the dreams of a murdered man and face a criminal mastermind bent on total control of a slumb
    The Manual of Detection By Jedediah Berry,

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    About " Jedediah Berry "

  • Jedediah Berry

    Jedediah Berry was raised in the Hudson Valley region of New York State His first novel, The Manual of Detection, received the Crawford Fantasy Award and the Dashiell Hammett Prize, and his short stories have appeared in anthologies including Best New American Voices and Best American Fantasy He lives in Western Massachusetts Jedediah Berry knows magic The Manual of Detection combines the intricacy and thoughtfulness of Borges and Kafka with the page turning excitement of a detective thriller It made me laugh, thrill, think, and wonder Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

  • 662 Comments

  • There is a place in St Louis where, for 12 and a willingness to put up with multitudes of loud children, you can crawl through endless disorienting cave tunnels, drip down ten story slides, ride a ferris wheel 12 stories in the sky, watch trained children perform cat in the hat tricks on 4 foot balls juggling knives, pet a shark, and drink a beer It is the City Museum, and whatever I say, I cannot accurately describe it for you It is a child s dream made manifest Inside the skateboard less skate [...]


  • All the elements of noir are present here a dreary setting, half understood mysteries, double and even triple crosses, multiple femme fatales, even a dark carnival filled with surly carnies The voice of the book is flat and even a little too flat and even for my tastes It is well written but I found the characters lacking in motivation and emotion The main character is simply pushed along, with little or no internal impetus, toward the inevitable end He s not really so much a protagonist as a re [...]


  • I loved this book for about the first third, was on board for about half but finished it in a fog, still admiring Jedidiah Berry s skill but not at all sure I cared or even understood what was going on Among the book s delights is the description of the world of Charles Unwin, a clerk in a huge, rigidly bureaucratic agency who takes pride in his meticulous documentation of the cases solved by the renowned detective, Sivart Unwin is comfortable with his routine, attaching his umbrella to his bicy [...]


  • Berry, Jedediah THE MANUAL OF DETECTION 2009 If you crossed some of the recessive genes of Lewis Carroll with those of Philip K Dick, you might come up with a novelist who would write a book like this It is set in a nameless city where it is always seems to be raining In fact, the hero s umbrella plays a major role in the story The hero, Charles Unwin, works as a clerk for a detective agency The agency is populated with lots of people who have specialized jobs, and noone can cross the line from [...]


  • When I was in my mid teens, one of my friends was rather obsessed with Film capital intended I watched a lot of movies that year, most of which I could tell you little about Brazil remains completely hazy in my memory, only a single screen shot of a greyscale monolith interior, a voice echoing thinly off the bare walls, clear in my memory Try as I might, I couldn t get rid of that image while reading The Manual of Detection Of course, I have to say, but some of it is equally off topic, and ther [...]


  • Wonderful, strange and immersive, The Manual of Detection is one of my favorite books in recent memory The world Berry has invented feels like the movie Brazil crossed with Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency and inspired by classic noir detective stories and films, such as The Maltese Falcon It s dark and grim yet somehow not depressing I couldn t put it down.The surreal narrative begins with the main character, Charles Unwin, who is a clerk at an elaborate and serpentine detective agency, [...]


  • In an unnamed city which has certain resemblances to early 20th century New York, many matters are regulated by the Agency, a large, somewhat Kafkaesque organization whose hierarchy runs, in descending order Watchers, Detectives, Clerks, Under Clerks There s not much direct communication between the members of these four strata Charles Unwin is the clerk whose responsibility it is to formalize, index and file the case reports of Detective Travis Sivart, the city s most prominent detective One da [...]


  • So, imagine you trip fall down Alice s rabbit hole, tumbling past dreamscapes spooky carnival sideshows before landing with a thump in a smoky jazz bar filled with pajama clad characters from Inception The Maltese Falcon Don t fail to notice the shadow of someone from Minority Report lurking in the deepest shadow See it Right by the deep green poster with an all seeing golden eye Feeling disoriented sore from your fall, you head directly for the bar Bartender Thursday Next suggests you try the D [...]


  • As I was reading this smart, tricky, and thoroughly beguiling detective story, I kept thinking of Paul Auster s CITY OF GLASS Like Auster s main character, Quinn, Charles Unwin is a reluctant hero, a or less ordinary guy who finds himself the detective on a strange case that he never wanted in the first place For the last 20 years, Unwin has been an agency clerk to star detective Travis Sivart One morning Unwin arrives at work to find Sivart gone and himself to be promoted to detective in his p [...]


  • I wouldn t normally dwell on the book as object, but I have to say that The Manual of Detection is one of the most attractive volumes that I ve seen in quite some time You can t see from the picture, but it has a laminate cover i.e the image is printed directly on to the cover, with no dust jacket and the whole package gives the impression of a book that has been designed with great care and attention Further, it has been made to resemble the fictional Manual of Detection described in the novel [...]


  • Full disclosure I ve never written a review of a book by someone I know hi Jeb I hate reading reviews of analogy If Voxtrot teamed up with Paul Simon, they d have formed Vampire Weekend but have a weakness for writing them So if I was asked to write a short blurb for the back of the paper back edition, I might say that if Kafka wrote the movie Chinatown, replacing J.J Gittes with Sam Lowrie from Brazil, it might read like The Manual of Detection Of course, the problem with those sort of review i [...]


  • I ve had this on my bookshelf for quite a while It s easily the most visually striking book that I own, but still I managed to avoid picking it up This is one that s hard to classify or maybe I just don t have much experience with the genre It s part surrealist dream caper, part hardboiled detective novel, with a dash of witty humor and some commentary on extremism just for good measure So yeah, this book has a lot going on, but it all somehow fits together with total precision.The unwitting her [...]


  • Jedediah Berry uses the stock images of the detective novel to create a Kafkaesque fable Set in a quasi victorian where the steampunk label comes from quasi 30 s atmosphere this is an atmospheric, baroque, and endlessly readable fantasy where it could have been a dry run through of genre cleverness The sum of the parts doesn t quite bring it in for a totally satisfying ending but the ride is terrific Great debut On influences, well digested for the most part,though maybe a bit of an obvious nod [...]


  • Rating 5 out of 5 A dark, rainy city that brings to mind a 1950s noir setting an ordinary detective agency clerk reluctant to accept a sudden promotion to detective circus villains, a rumbling steam truck, remnants of a travels no carnival some stereotypical metaphoric film noir detective dialogue cleverly written and becoming surreal throughout intricate and weirdly fantastical, reminding me of a Charlie Kaufman script one of the best books I ve read this past year and now a favorite.



  • From BBC Radio 4 Extra Travis Sivart, the detective s detective has gone missing Raymond Chandler meets Kafka in this surreal tale of skulduggery and somnambulism.Somewhere in an unnamed, rainy city, Charles Unwin, a lowly but efficient clerk in a big detective agency, finds his world turned upside down when his detective boss, Travis Sivart, disappears.Unwin is suddenly promoted to the role and forced out into the field for the first time in his life Unprepared and untrained, armed only with hi [...]


  • The Manual of Detection reads like the bastard love child of Dashiell Hammett and Terry Gilliam First time novelist Jedediah Berry stirs all the tropes of a hard boiled detective story with surrealistic fantasy elements to create a delightfully eccentric concoction that goes down easy despite the serious message at its core.Anyone familiar with the famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither libert [...]


  • My Kindle suggested I d like this and it was right.This is a delicious story of Mr Charles Unwin, a clerk in The Agency for twenty years who has had the privilege of writing up some of the cases of the Agency s most famous detective with the palindromic name of Travis Sivart The Oldest Murdered Man and The Three Deaths of Captain Baker and The Man Who Stole November Twelfth are his crowning achievements.But when the famous detective Sivart goes missing and Unwin is mysteriously promoted to Detec [...]


  • Peculiar story, not sure if it s magical realism or just sci fi mystery, but in any case, it s great fun, the sort of book that sticks in the mind.


  • Ein W hltischfund Und eine Perle.Es ist nicht ganz so leicht, die ganzen Figuren und Verwicklungen und Erz hlebenen, die in diesem Buch bunt durcheinandergew rfelt werden, auseinander zu halten, aber das Durchhalten bis zum Schluss ist die M he auf jeden Fall wert Die Geschichte ist kafkaesk und surreal, eine Mischung, die ich pers nlich sehr gerne mag, und die Dialoge Das Sahneh ubchen Diese Geschichte stelle ich mir als H rspiel bzw buch sehr interessant vor.


  • I went to Booksmith on Haight Street to get my dad a birthday gift I was drawn to this book and immediately decided to get it for him, and to borrow it after he read it The author s name sounded familiar, but I saw that it was his first novel, so I kind of shrugged and forgot about it A few months later, the Bard e news letter came and in it was an announcement that Jedediah Berry, class of 99, would be giving a reading on campus from his first novel, The Manual of Detection All of a sudden, it [...]


  • Not as much fun as I wanted it to be I think I liked the idea far than the execution The biggest problem, as I see it, is that main character Unwin is so incredibly passive for so much of the book He does little on his own initiative, and is just pushed from one thing to the next At least he isn t obnoxious, even if he is a bit boring The supporting characters have all the quirks and interest in the story, but they feel a bit flat, too This may be partially intentional It feels like Berry is do [...]



  • I ve been doing a lot of revisiting old favorites while counting down the days until my novel GEORGE LIZZIE comes out, and rereading Jedediah Berry s THE MANUAL OF DETECTION Penguin, 2009 was a great pleasure It s one of those peculiar and intriguing novels that are showing up with rather frequency these days than they used to be Describing it isn t easy Berry s novel is neither this nor that the plot is not straightforward to say the least the setting is surreal yet oddly familiar, the charact [...]


  • I want to be clear that I m not making fun of people who do this, but almost every review I ve read of this book contains some description by simile it s like Kafka it s like Kafka and Auster collaborating it s like Kafka s lovechild with Chesterton, writing his own bedtime story it s like Kafka and Chesterton ejaculated into the skull of Lewis Carroll and made Lethem early mid Lethem drink it it s like Kafka possessed Neil Gaiman who then wrote the story with a typewriter of cats tuned to the k [...]


  • Unique Idiosyncratic Eccentric Odd Mysterious Unusual Strange Peculiar Bizarre Quirky Fun Yes.Here is a selection of only positive comments from GR reviews really just a good story with some decidedly whacked out elements Candace Burton takes the old fashioned private eye story and recreates it with elements of fantasy Deb a delightfully eccentric concoction that goes down easily Blake Fraina every sentence is well written Joe Hunt The humor is silly and light, but the suspense is edgy and inten [...]


  • The Manual of Detection is a quirky novel that combines mystery with mystery Even after reading it, I m not sure how it should be characterized There is certainly detection and mystery But there s also a strange world with stranger rules and actors It doesn t try to be like anything else, yet it echoes classic detective novels and film.We have a protagonist who spends most of the book confused over the disappearance of his Detective he is his assigned clerk who receives and re writes case detail [...]


  • The Manual of Detection is a brainy confection of a detective fantasy Its core mystery is less of the whodunnit crime thriller variety and of the grand conspiracy variety woven with the cloth of high fantasy there are flavors of everything in the sauce here from Swift and Peake and Lewis Carroll and Chesterton all the way through to Gaiman and Gilliam Charles Unwin is the novel s dubious hero a hyper meticulous clerk some of the most wry parts of the novel describe Unwin s fastidiousness, a cha [...]


  • I had a bit of trouble getting into the Manual of Detection I felt like I was in a Magritte painting where things are strange and precise, and but cold and lifeless The main character barely shows any humanity until 3 or 4 chapters in when he waves to some school children The murder of a colleague discovered earlier creates only a bout of self absorption Around page 96, however, the book picked up for me so that I had trouble putting it down The protagonist develops and his character flaws are a [...]


  • film noir gothic fantasy the thursday next series, the thin man movies, spenser and hawk if you like any of these, you will likely enjoy this book as much as i did it is splendidly and almost seamlessly written the prose is intense and carries a depth that i don t find often in any but the most tragic of fictions and this is no tragedy it s not a comedy, it s definitely not a romance, but really just a good story with some decidedly whacked out elements charles unwin, hapless clerk to the great [...]


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