The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
(Today Show Book Club #22)

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Synopsis

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An extraordinarily haunting love story told in the voice of a man who appears to age backwards

We are each the love of someone's life.

So begins The Confessions of Max Tivoli, a heartbreaking love story with a narrator like no other. At his birth, Max's father declares him a "nisse," a creature of Danish myth, as his baby son has the external physical appearance of an old, dying creature. Max grows older like any child, but his physical age appears to go backward--on the outside a very old man, but inside still a fearful child.

The story is told in three acts. First, young Max falls in love with a neighborhood girl, Alice, who ages as normally as any of us. Max, of course, does not; as a young man, he has an older man's body. But his curse is also his blessing: as he gets older, his body grows younger, so each successive time he finds his Alice, she does not recognize him. She takes him for a stranger, and Max is given another chance at love.

Set against the historical backdrop of San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century, Max's life and confessions question the very nature of time, of appearance and reality, and of love itself. A beautiful and daring feat of the imagination, The Confessions of Max Tivoli reveals the world through the eyes of a "monster," a being who confounds the very certainties by which we live and in doing so embodies in extremis what it means to be human.
 

About Andrew Sean Greer

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Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which received a California Book Award. He is currently a fellow at the New York Public Library Cullman Center. He lives in San Francisco.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 292 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Confessions of Max Tivoli

Kirkus Reviews

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Max’s Danish father abruptly vanishes from the house (he’s believed to have been “shanghaied”) when Max is 16, forcing him and his pregnant mother to move from tony Nob Hill to their old house in South Park, where Max (presented as his mother’s brother-in-law) falls hopelessly in love with the 14...

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Publishers Weekly

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But his lifelong friend Hughie Dempsey knows Max's secret, and is intimately connected to the story that unfolds, via Max's written "confessions," in small, explosive revelations.

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Entertainment Weekly

Here's a nifty, one-off literary gimmick for you: Max, the starry-eyed narrator of Greer's florid second novel, is born in the body of a 70-year-old man and is doomed to live his life in reverse.

Feb 06 2004 | Read Full Review of The Confessions of Max Tivoli...

The Washington Post

Abandoned by her partner and devastated by the death of her gay twin brother, Greta Wells pursues every treatment she can think of to raise her spirits.

Jul 02 2013 | Read Full Review of The Confessions of Max Tivoli...

Bookmarks Magazine

A fable of surpassing gravity and beauty, The Confessions of Max Tivoli returns Andrew Sean Greer to the central concerns of his first novel: how time ravages love, and how love takes its revenge."

Oct 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Confessions of Max Tivoli...

Austin Chronicle

The white man's mysticism braided into the slowly unfolding plot might madden some, but it also puts Greer – a very good storyteller, whose sentences almost stare you down, demanding to be recognized one by one – in the company of American authors like Darin Strauss (Chang and Eng) and Nicholas C...

Jul 16 2004 | Read Full Review of The Confessions of Max Tivoli...

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