Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

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I am not sorry I read this. But I like Derrick Jensen’s Endgame better, even though it doesn’t have as happy an ending.
-Pages of Julia's Blog

Synopsis

One of the most beloved and bestselling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, Ishmael has earned a passionate following among readers and critics alike.

TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.

It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of a lifetime.

So begins an utterly unique and captivating novel. In Ishmael, which received the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship for the best work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems, Daniel Quinn parses humanity’s origins and its relationship with nature, in search of an answer to this challenging question: How can we save the world from ourselves?
 
Praise for Ishmael

“As suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction you are likely to read this or any other year.”—The Austin Chronicle

“Before we’re halfway through this slim book . . . we’re in [Daniel Quinn’s] grip, we want Ishmael to teach us how to save the planet from ourselves. We want to change our lives.”—The Washington Post

“Arthur Koestler, in an essay in which he wondered whether mankind would go the way of the dinosaur, formulated what he called the Dinosaur’s Prayer: ‘Lord, a little more time!’ Ishmael does its bit to answer that prayer and may just possibly have bought us all a little more time.”—Los Angeles Times
 

About Daniel Quinn

See more books from this Author
Daniel Quinn's first book, Ishmael, won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, a prize for fiction presenting creative and positive solutions to global problems. He is also the author of Providence, The Story of B, and My Ishmael.
 
Published December 15, 2009 by Bantam. 274 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Ishmael
All: 7 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on May 20 2010

A washout as a story, with zero emotional punch; but of substantial intellectual appeal as the extensive Q&A passages (despite their wild generalities and smug self-assurance) invariably challenge and provoke: both Socrates and King Kong might be pleased.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Nov 04 1991

Though hardly any plot to speak of lies behind this long dialogue, Quinn's smooth style and his intriguing proposals should hold the attention of readers interested in the daunting dilemmas that beset our planet.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by JACK MILES on Feb 02 1992

..."Ishmael" is a book that a teacher of college freshmen or high school seniors could assign in hopes of showing the students how ideas matter. One can imagine it becoming the center of a word-of-mouth, student-to-student cult.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Grania on Sep 28 2014

I will never view the world (or my place in it) in the same way again. This book has changed me and inspired me to change the world. Instead of just talking about what the world will become if we don't change our habits, Quinn gives us a goal to strive for.

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Teen Ink

Below average
Reviewed by Tong Z on Sep 28 2014

While Daniel Quinn raises numerous valid questions and offers several explanations, most of his explanations are not convincing. Although he correctly identifies some laws in nature, he often makes black-and-white generalizations about human civilization.

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Pages of Julia's Blog

Below average
Reviewed by pagesofjulia on May 20 2013

I am not sorry I read this. But I like Derrick Jensen’s Endgame better, even though it doesn’t have as happy an ending.

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http://www.truth-out.org

Excellent
Reviewed by BuzzFlash on Dec 05 2005

There are few books that actually have the effect of changing your world-view as you read them. Even fewer are the type of fiction that drags you in, entertains you, and leaves you stunned. "Ishmael" accomplishes all of this elegantly, and is a perfect introduction to the further writings of Daniel Quinn, one of the wisest of our wise elders.

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Reader Rating for Ishmael
83%

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