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KxBurns
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The Use of Humor in The Believers

While The Believers tackles many controversial topics, it does so in a satirical way. The humorlessness with which the characters view themselves and their convictions is occasionally laughable (when juxtaposed with their hypocrisies) and is frequently undercut by the situations in which they are placed.

 

Carmenere_lady (Lynda Sue) highlights two examples of such humor:

"...a couple of scenes jump out at me as being rather humorous.  One involving Rosa and her weekend with the Rabbi's family.  I do respect the peculiarities of different faiths, but I couldn't help but snicker when Rosa used the ladies room and was stalked by Karen who tried to catch her before she shut off he light. Or brush her teeth or take a shower.

 Another farcical moment, in my opinion, was Karla's near strangulation by Nicholas.  On the big screen, that's always going thru my mind when I read, it's rather amusing to see Khaled jump on Karla's back to save her from Nicholas' grasp."

 

I think part of what makes these encounters comical is the fact that we know we shouldn't laugh at them. It's not nice to laugh at someone's religious beliefs or at a physically awkward moment for an overweight person. By presenting us with such scenes in a book that deals with serious issues, maybe Heller is asking us to lighten up a little.

 

I'd love to hear what you all think. Did you think the humor in the book was successful or missed it's mark? Please give specific examples! 

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

[ Edited ]
O.K, here's another moment. Page 33 - Joel seems to be all puffed up because he's going against the grain by defending a possible terrorist, hugging him, speaking to him in his native tongue.............then Joel collapses and the defendent, Hassani, couldn't care less. He leans "over to Buchman and politely inquired about how he should proceed with finding a replacement lawyer." Maybe it's just me and my weird sense of humor, but to me it's laughable.
Message Edited by Carmenere_lady on 10-22-2008 08:24 PM
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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BookWoman718
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

I found this book very humorous;  the satire is simply never-ending.  The entire scene in which Rosa comes home to her apartment and roommate is fabulous.  Rosa's reaction to the enormous white bunny Jane received from her boyfriend:   "Rosa had some cause to regard herself as a worldly woman. As a child she had broken bread with Daniel Ortega...and played softball with Abbie Hoffman.... Yet in truth, her worldliness applied to a very narrow band of the world, and there were large areas of ordinary American life about which her impeccably progressive, internationalist upbringing had left her astonishingly ignorant.  Until a year ago,....her contact with bouncy, suburban American young women for whom cuddly toys were a meaningful expression of adult love had been negligible. And even now, twelve months later, most things about Jane - from the "Best Daughter in the World" certificate hanging on her wall and the dog-eared library of Chicken Soup books lining her Pier One bookshelf...and the thrice-weekly, hour-long phone conversations she had with her concerned parents in Fort Laudendale - posed an appalling anthropological mystery for Rosa.  She approached all their interactions in the wary, squeamish manner of a schoolchild dissecting a frog." 

 

As if that paragraph isn't enough, it's followed by this zinger:  "Happily, Jane's natural obtusemess. enhanced by years of self-esteem training, had saved her from taking offense at Rosa's froideur."

 

Rosa's cluelessness about that vast majority of her countrymen who don't view life as her parents do is tellingly skewered, and then, turning on a dime, so is the self-satisfaction and child-centeredness of Jane's upbringing. 

 

Kudos to Zoe Heller.  This book is a gratifying combination of very smart, very knowing humor, and straight-faced descriptions of behavior so bad that you're wincing in pain.  

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kiakar
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

 

We call that dry humor, don't we. I thought in places it was so sad it was funny. And  it was like a nod funny at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Carmenere_lady wrote:
O.K, here's another moment. Page 33 - Joel seems to be all puffed up because he's going against the grain by defending a possible terrorist, hugging him, speaking to him in his native tongue.............then Joel collapses and the defendent, Hassani, couldn't care less. He leans "over to Buchman and politely inquired about how he should proceed with finding a replacement lawyer." Maybe it's just me and my weird sense of humor, but to me it's laughable.
Message Edited by Carmenere_lady on 10-22-2008 08:24 PM

 

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bookhunter
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

[ Edited ]

I have to admit that it took me a while to "get" the humor in the book.  The characters' brashness and hostility towards each other was hard for me to get past.  And I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be laughing at them or laughing at the rest of the world with them! 

 

I kept remembering Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities that skewered the other end of New York society and how I laughed out loud reading it, and this experience was not the same.  It was more like watching Pulp Fiction and finally (when they jab the needle of adrenaline in the magic marker circle over her heart...) having something click that it was ok to laugh at it.

 

But Audrey's birthday party pushed me over my wall of resistance.  It was a very funny scene and finally got me comfortable with laughing at these folks.  Mike, trying to fit in to this family, Rosa being horrified that Karla is scrubbing the floor and Karla continuously apologizing.  That chapter will be a great scene in the movie!

 

And I agree with BookWoman about the chapter with Jane.  When Jane appeared on the scene I was so relieved to FINALLY see a character I "knew!"  So it was easy to laugh at her clueless enthusiasm and at how Rosa in turn was clueless to who Jane is. 

 

BookWoman's comments over on another thread ("Audrey and Joel" ) about Ms. Heller satirizing the hypocracies of the East coast liberal elite were great.  This book is not the usual cast of "bad guys" and I think that is what held me back for a bit.

 

Satire works at its best when it can get you to laugh at yourself...but through laughing to recognize hypocracies and shortcomings that you can change.  And this book had almost no one I recognized as being like "me."

 

('cause we don't have hypocrites around here!)

 

Ann, bookhunter

Message Edited by bookhunter on 10-23-2008 12:51 PM
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

Yes, kiakar.  Like white wine and martini's I like my humor dry :smileywink:
kiakar wrote:

 

We call that dry humor, don't we. I thought in places it was so sad it was funny. And  it was like a nod funny at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Carmenere_lady wrote:
O.K, here's another moment. Page 33 - Joel seems to be all puffed up because he's going against the grain by defending a possible terrorist, hugging him, speaking to him in his native tongue.............then Joel collapses and the defendent, Hassani, couldn't care less. He leans "over to Buchman and politely inquired about how he should proceed with finding a replacement lawyer." Maybe it's just me and my weird sense of humor, but to me it's laughable.
Message Edited by Carmenere_lady on 10-22-2008 08:24 PM

 


 

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

I have to admit I found little or no humor in Part 1 but in Part 2, I have had several laugh out loud moments which were actually nostalgic for me! When Rosa inadvertently turns out the bathroom light, I thought I would die laughing. I not only did that in a friend's house, because of my ignorance, but I also threw away the toilet paper that had been torn in advance to be used until the Sabbath ended. I created quite a stir and a pretty uncomfortable dark night for my friend and her parents! I was forgiven but not forgotten!
twj

 

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minyades
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

What I found interesting about the use of humor is that it cuts across a broad spectrum. It can be used to delineate the minor characters. I shall always see Audrey's sister as the "Florence Nightingale" of cleaning. It can really dissect the state of Karla's marriage and her fertility problems. From describing her condition as a "trifecta" to the depiction of Mike's love making as they struggle to conceive. There is also an uncomfortable aspect to the humor when it pertains to religion. Audrey's use of "Jewy', or referring to her daughter as "Queen of the Matzoh" and Rosa  describing the shul as a "down-at -heel dental practice" Though I'm unobservant, there's still a part of me that cringes a bit while laughing.

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kiakar
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

 

 

 

Ann,bookhunter. How are you? Long time no hear.

 

It was quite a shock when you first started reading this if you weren't use to reading this sort of read. That is, all of it is out there, the language, the disrepect and everything else in between.  I know you to know you are like me, this is not the style of book we are use too. But its good to read something you haven't read alot of, because you learn alot from books like this. There are all kinds of life out there. I donot mean this in a disrepectful way. I did enjoy reading the book even though I havent read too many like this in the past.  Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


bookhunter wrote:

I have to admit that it took me a while to "get" the humor in the book.  The characters' brashness and hostility towards each other was hard for me to get past.  And I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be laughing at them or laughing at the rest of the world with them! 

 

I kept remembering Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities that skewered the other end of New York society and how I laughed out loud reading it, and this experience was not the same.  It was more like watching Pulp Fiction and finally (when they jab the needle of adrenaline in the magic marker circle over her heart...) having something click that it was ok to laugh at it.

 

But Audrey's birthday party pushed me over my wall of resistance.  It was a very funny scene and finally got me comfortable with laughing at these folks.  Mike, trying to fit in to this family, Rosa being horrified that Karla is scrubbing the floor and Karla continuously apologizing.  That chapter will be a great scene in the movie!

 

And I agree with BookWoman about the chapter with Jane.  When Jane appeared on the scene I was so relieved to FINALLY see a character I "knew!"  So it was easy to laugh at her clueless enthusiasm and at how Rosa in turn was clueless to who Jane is. 

 

BookWoman's comments over on another thread ("Audrey and Joel" ) about Ms. Heller satirizing the hypocracies of the East coast liberal elite were great.  This book is not the usual cast of "bad guys" and I think that is what held me back for a bit.

 

Satire works at its best when it can get you to laugh at yourself...but through laughing to recognize hypocracies and shortcomings that you can change.  And this book had almost no one I recognized as being like "me."

 

('cause we don't have hypocrites around here!)

 

Ann, bookhunter

Message Edited by bookhunter on 10-23-2008 12:51 PM

 

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IBIS
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

In addition to the satire and comedy that Zoe Heller uses in the story, I've found a lot of humor in the metaphors and similes that she uses... the humor comes in the unexpected juxtaposition and irony of the writing, as well as the crystal-clear image that I can almost touch,,,

 

Here are some of my favorites:

 

(p. 21) As Joel suffers from a ferocious headache:  "an icy clanking deep in his skull, as if some sharp-edged metal object had come loose and were rolling about in there."

 

Audrey doses him with Tylenol and water, "But it wasn't liquids or pills he needed... it was a mechanic. He lay for a few moments, holding the back of his hand to his brow like a Victorian heroine with the vapors."

 

(p. 11) "His teeth were as white and symmetrical as bathroom tiles."

 

(p. 13) "Her vast bosom strained against the confines of her floral housecoat; her swollen feet spilled over the edges of her slippers like rising dough escaping its pan." 

 

(p. 13) "Mr Howard was as slender and wizened as his wife was wide and pneumatic." 

 

(p. 24) "Ever since July had arrived from England... she had been flitting up and down the staircase with buckets and dusters and antibacterial detergents in the saintly manner of Florence Nightingale bringing succor to a Crimean field hospital." 

 

(p. 32) "Joel... stopped to say a few words to the court stenographer, a nice old gargoyle called Helen." 

 

(p. 41) "Audry askes a man for a light. 'You got a light?'

'Nope,' the man replied in the piously emphatic tones of a non-smoker." 

 

(p. 43) "She accepted the fact of his attractiveness as she accepted the existence of gravity -- it was the most plausible explanation for various phenomena that would otherwise have remained mysterious..."

 

(p. 46) A workman in the hospital is standing on a ladder, removing white panels in the ceiling. "As the panel came away, a tangle of tubes and wires spilled out, looking like cartoon innards."

 

(p. 47) "The buoys in New York Harbor were flopping and bouncing like vaudevillians as the Staten Island Ferry plowed its approach to Manhattan." 

 

 (p. 54) Karla always spoke of Mike's job as a union organizer with the reverence of a missionary wife describing her husband's evangelical work in Borneo."

 

(p.57) She was becoming, in her old age, like one of those paranoid despots who see in every minor disobedience the seeds of a full-scale insurgency. You threw a pebble; she brought out a howitzer."

 

I thoroughly enjoyed these tiny literary gems.

 

IBIS 

 


KxBurns wrote: 

 

 I'd love to hear what you all think. Did you think the humor in the book was successful or missed it's mark? Please give specific examples! 


 

 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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nikkid
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers


kiakar wrote:

 

 

 

Ann,bookhunter. How are you? Long time no hear.

 

It was quite a shock when you first started reading this if you weren't use to reading this sort of read. That is, all of it is out there, the language, the disrepect and everything else in between.  I know you to know you are like me, this is not the style of book we are use too. But its good to read something you haven't read alot of, because you learn alot from books like this. There are all kinds of life out there. I donot mean this in a disrepectful way. I did enjoy reading the book even though I havent read too many like this in the past.  Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


bookhunter wrote:

I have to admit that it took me a while to "get" the humor in the book.  The characters' brashness and hostility towards each other was hard for me to get past.  And I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be laughing at them or laughing at the rest of the world with them! 

 

I kept remembering Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities that skewered the other end of New York society and how I laughed out loud reading it, and this experience was not the same.  It was more like watching Pulp Fiction and finally (when they jab the needle of adrenaline in the magic marker circle over her heart...) having something click that it was ok to laugh at it.

 

But Audrey's birthday party pushed me over my wall of resistance.  It was a very funny scene and finally got me comfortable with laughing at these folks.  Mike, trying to fit in to this family, Rosa being horrified that Karla is scrubbing the floor and Karla continuously apologizing.  That chapter will be a great scene in the movie!

 

And I agree with BookWoman about the chapter with Jane.  When Jane appeared on the scene I was so relieved to FINALLY see a character I "knew!"  So it was easy to laugh at her clueless enthusiasm and at how Rosa in turn was clueless to who Jane is. 

 

BookWoman's comments over on another thread ("Audrey and Joel" ) about Ms. Heller satirizing the hypocracies of the East coast liberal elite were great.  This book is not the usual cast of "bad guys" and I think that is what held me back for a bit.

 

Satire works at its best when it can get you to laugh at yourself...but through laughing to recognize hypocracies and shortcomings that you can change.  And this book had almost no one I recognized as being like "me."

 

('cause we don't have hypocrites around here!)

 

Ann, bookhunter

Message Edited by bookhunter on 10-23-2008 12:51 PM

 


 

I completely agree!  This is the first time I have read a book like this.  I must start out by saying that I did thoroughly enjoy it...but I really found no humor in the book at all.  I felt that the characters weren't very funny and that most of the time their situations were actually very sad.

 

How awful to be Rosa and completely out of your element in an unfamiliar environment and then accidentally "turn off the light"! My goodness, I was so embarrassed for her.

 

I don't think I enjoyed any part of the book that had Audrey in it.  Her tone was way to harsh for me.  I still can't figure out how anyone put up with her.

 

I'm a nurse and I work in the hospital so there was no way that anything was funny about the patient trying to choke/kill Karla.  You have no idea....it's not that far fetched things like that do happen! 

 

I guess I just took all of the characters a little to seriously! 

 

In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and am anxious to reread it (maybe next time I will be able to lighten up and laugh) 

 

I look forward to reading more of Zoe Heller's books.

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

Good post IBIS.  Heller's metaphors slip in as smoothly as a bald mans head, I hardly noticed half of what you mentioned.  Just like political commercials, metaphors can become excessive so I want to ask all of you a question.  Do you think Heller overdid it with metaphors and similies, can they become something of a crutch at some point or if used properly and spaced appropriately they only enhance a story? 
IBIS wrote:

In addition to the satire and comedy that Zoe Heller uses in the story, I've found a lot of humor in the metaphors and similes that she uses... the humor comes in the unexpected juxtaposition and irony of the writing, as well as the crystal-clear image that I can almost touch,,,

 

Here are some of my favorites:

 

(p. 21) As Joel suffers from a ferocious headache:  "an icy clanking deep in his skull, as if some sharp-edged metal object had come loose and were rolling about in there."

 

Audrey doses him with Tylenol and water, "But it wasn't liquids or pills he needed... it was a mechanic. He lay for a few moments, holding the back of his hand to his brow like a Victorian heroine with the vapors."

 

(p. 11) "His teeth were as white and symmetrical as bathroom tiles."

 

(p. 13) "Her vast bosom strained against the confines of her floral housecoat; her swollen feet spilled over the edges of her slippers like rising dough escaping its pan." 

 

(p. 13) "Mr Howard was as slender and wizened as his wife was wide and pneumatic." 

 

(p. 24) "Ever since July had arrived from England... she had been flitting up and down the staircase with buckets and dusters and antibacterial detergents in the saintly manner of Florence Nightingale bringing succor to a Crimean field hospital." 

 

(p. 32) "Joel... stopped to say a few words to the court stenographer, a nice old gargoyle called Helen." 

 

(p. 41) "Audry askes a man for a light. 'You got a light?'

'Nope,' the man replied in the piously emphatic tones of a non-smoker." 

 

(p. 43) "She accepted the fact of his attractiveness as she accepted the existence of gravity -- it was the most plausible explanation for various phenomena that would otherwise have remained mysterious..."

 

(p. 46) A workman in the hospital is standing on a ladder, removing white panels in the ceiling. "As the panel came away, a tangle of tubes and wires spilled out, looking like cartoon innards."

 

(p. 47) "The buoys in New York Harbor were flopping and bouncing like vaudevillians as the Staten Island Ferry plowed its approach to Manhattan." 

 

 (p. 54) Karla always spoke of Mike's job as a union organizer with the reverence of a missionary wife describing her husband's evangelical work in Borneo."

 

(p.57) She was becoming, in her old age, like one of those paranoid despots who see in every minor disobedience the seeds of a full-scale insurgency. You threw a pebble; she brought out a howitzer."

 

I thoroughly enjoyed these tiny literary gems.

 

IBIS 

 


KxBurns wrote: 

 

 I'd love to hear what you all think. Did you think the humor in the book was successful or missed it's mark? Please give specific examples! 


 

 


 

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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dhaupt
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

I waited a long while to post to this question mostly because I wasn't sure how to answer it. The humor to me was less specific and more general throughout the book.

The book although not a comedy I found myself laughing out loud at some of the thoughts of and statements of the characters. I won't give specific pages and quotes but here are some of my most memorable pieces of humor in the book.

When Joel is describing his naked self in the first chapter, and in the same chapter when Lenny explains to Joel why he and Tanya have shown up because someone pis-ed on her bed. The bialy confrontation between Joel and Audrey.

How Audrey tries to bully Jean into hiring Lenny to do work in her house.

The confrontations between Audrey and Daniel (I liked him less than Audrey).

Audrey's description of Joel's doctor.

I could go on and on, but I won't.

The author's use of humor I think really worked well. I know some of you found this book offensive, but I didn't. I thought it worked well especially considering the kind of people the Litvinoff's were ie. radical in their thoughts and their actions and so anti anything they thought were mainstream and I think that's why they seemed so humorous because they were so different than me or any one I know. 

The book was somewhat of a humorous education to me of how the "left" lived.

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TrishNYC
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

Nikkid, I have to agree with you and say that I did not find much humor in this book. Maybe I was so caught  in the amazingly self centered world that most of the characters lived in that I was more appalled and saddened than amused. Audrey has to be one of the most unlikeable character that I have read before. She is brash, very, very harsh and believes so superbly in her ability to be right in every situation. There were a few moments of horrified amusement but they were fleeting and I don't remember them all. When the girls at Rosa's after school program first started their dance routine, I was horrified and amused by the gyrating dances that they came up with. But it was more in that "oh lord, this is so uncomfortable and the only reaction I can come up with to cover my horror is amusement" kinda way. The dinner party scene had quite a few moments that in another book I would probably have found hilarious. But for me finding it in a book with this tone, was yet another example of the self centered and aggrieved universe this family inhabited. 
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Jennd1
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

I found many parts of the book funny and I agree the images heller creates are often comical, I also found Audrey hard to take.  The book turned out to be different than I thought.  At the begining I thought it would focus on joel and audrey's views as the trial unfolded. 

 

Jenn

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mwinasu
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

 OK the only thing that bothered me about this book is that the American characters seem to have a Brittish accent.  They often use language in strange ways, like " you lot" and "**bleep** about".  I do not know if that was intentional, but I thought that it was funny.  I kept looking for it all through the read.  The book was funny in a situational way.

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READERJANE
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

Your comments and percetions are dead on ! The entire scene in the apartment is so well written that I felt like I was there watching the drama unfold.

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Thryth
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers

I can't say I found anything in this book either comical or humorous in any way.  Quite the contrary for me.  I have never found the humor in other people's misfortune or predicaments.  I thought most if not all of the characters were seriously disfunctional in one way or another and perhaps deserving of pity from the readers rather than laughter.  While I felt compelled to keep reading page after page because so much of what I read seemed to reflect what goes on around all of us in the real world, I really didn't feel any compassion towards any of the characters.  By the time I was half way through the book, I was terribly angry with Audrey's snide, cruel, and uncontrolled behavior.  I was even hoping someone, anyone, would actually slap some sense into her, and get her to see the damage she was causing all around her.  Irrational as it may be, I wanted someone to hurt her back in a big way for all the horrible and mean things she had said and done. The only time I felt anything other than disdain for Audrey was when she came totally unglued in the hospital when Berenice showed up in Joel's hospital room.  And I won't even get started on Joel.  Coming from a family where my own father cheated on my mother, not once, but many, many times as I was growing up, I can't even begin to relay the far reaching ramifications of his betrayal, both emotionally and physically, not only for my mother but for my siblings and myself as well.  I have often wondered how different our lives might have been had my father simply honored his vows to my mother.  Not surprisingly, I saw a little of Audrey looking back at my own mother's behavior over the years.  I have to say, Joel got what he deserved.

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KxBurns
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers


Carmenere_lady wrote:
[edited]...metaphors can become excessive so I want to ask all of you a question.  Do you think Heller overdid it with metaphors and similies, can they become something of a crutch at some point or if used properly and spaced appropriately they only enhance a story? 

Wonderful job highlighting the humorous scenes and turns of phrase, everyone!

 

I like the question posed to us by Carmenere_Lady regarding metaphors. I agree an author can easily go overboard with such descriptive tropes and, for me, that comes off as affected or showy. But, personally, I don't find that in The Believers. What do you all think?  

 

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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: The Use of Humor in The Believers


nikkid wrote:

I completely agree!  This is the first time I have read a book like this.  I must start out by saying that I did thoroughly enjoy it...but I really found no humor in the book at all.  I felt that the characters weren't very funny and that most of the time their situations were actually very sad.

 

How awful to be Rosa and completely out of your element in an unfamiliar environment and then accidentally "turn off the light"! My goodness, I was so embarrassed for her.

 

I don't think I enjoyed any part of the book that had Audrey in it.  Her tone was way to harsh for me.  I still can't figure out how anyone put up with her.

 

I'm a nurse and I work in the hospital so there was no way that anything was funny about the patient trying to choke/kill Karla.  You have no idea....it's not that far fetched things like that do happen! 

 

I guess I just took all of the characters a little to seriously! 

 

In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and am anxious to reread it (maybe next time I will be able to lighten up and laugh) 

 

I look forward to reading more of Zoe Heller's books.


I agree that some of these moments are horrifying and I completely respect your opinion of not finding humor in the misfortune of the characters. But I think if we ask ourselves what the author's goal is in playing such situations for laughs, they might become more meaningful.

 

Take the Karla example. I don't think it's so much the attack that's meant to be funny but the rescue. If we look at how Karla is repeatedly presented as a victim (I would say a victim of her own meekness, but maybe that's a discussion we can have when the "Karla" thread is posted...) and then look at a situation where she is quite literally being victimized and her rescue turns into an absurd, embarrassing folly, do you think Heller might be using the humor to make a statement rather than just making her character the butt of a joke?