The Teleportation Accident

Ned Beauman

The Teleportation Accident

When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.

If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.

But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid. From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it. 4.2 out of 5 based on 9 reviews

The Teleportation Accident

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 368
RRP
Date of Publication July 2012
ISBN 978-0340998427
Publisher Sceptre
 

When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.

If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.

But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid. From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.

Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman.

Reviews

The Guardian

Joe Dunthorne

There is so much pleasure in the unstable elements of the story that I couldn't help feel a loss as the wheels of the plot started to turn. Luckily, the setting up of various false leads, reveals and tricks are worth it for the brilliant finale. If there was ever any worry that he might have crammed all his ideas into his first book, the prize-winning Boxer, Beetle, this makes it clear he kept a secret bunker of his best ones aside.

26/07/2012

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The Times

Kate Saunders

With fantastic leaps through time and space, Beauman builds an oblique picture of (among a million other things) the rise of Nazism. Beauman’s writing is stunningly, dazzlingly inventive; this has been longlisted for the Man Booker and I’d love it to win.

18/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Emma Hogan

... blisteringly funny, witty and erudite. A series of dazzling metaphors and similes pinpoint an experience exactly: the physics professor, for example, “had that odd conversational manner of some scientists… that is so doggedly awkward that it sometimes seems to verge upon flirtation”. Only once or twice does this style, and off-beam subject matter, strain slightly. For the most part, however, Beauman manages to combine the intrigue of a thriller with the imagery of a comedy. It makes for an excellent read.

06/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Anthony Cummins

That’s not to say Beauman would keep us from having fun: upon the late introduction of a serial-killing scientist and his tinpot teleporter – this after a bibliophilic car-wax tycoon, a dandyish thriller writer (“Stent Mutton”) and a con artist who drags Egon into a scam that turns on a lychee’s likeness to a monkey testicle – you get tense wondering how the novel can possibly wrap things up with so few pages left. True, the climax involves much hoop-jumping, as well as some increasingly impenetrable dialogue, but it’s still a hoot – very clever and charming, with an awesome range of reference.

02/08/2012

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The Literary Review

Simon Hammond

The joke is that history doesn’t happen to most people as it tends to in novels, but it would surely work better if we were given a peek at what Egon is missing. Given that Thomas Mann, Adorno and Horkheimer, Schoenberg and Fritz Lang were all in the neighbourhood, a writer of Beauman’s stripes could have made more of the material. But there is plenty to enjoy. Beauman excels at both the grand, jostling structure and the individual sentence. His similes are often inspired, his dialogue is frequently hilarious, and his ability to keep all the plates spinning, as the story dashes between years and continents with a large supporting cast, is very impressive.

01/08/2012

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The Independent

Roz Caveney

Beauman has set himself to school with an intriguing variety of masters – there is a lot of Pynchon here, from the feckless crowd of Weimar wasters that Loeser is originally hanging out with, many of whom end up refugees in California with him, to the transportation systems and secret knowledge. As a farceur, Beauman owes much to PG Wodehouse. Loeser finds himself paying court to an eccentric millionaire who is partly the ultimate Wodehouse uncle, partly the sort of monster we meet in Waugh. Pynchon is also present, as much as Hammett or Chandler, in the thrillerish bits – this is an expressionist and surrealist novel as much as a piece of noir.

11/08/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

James Kidd

This melange works because Beauman is such a meticulous narrative arranger. Chekov's axiom about making use of loaded rifles has been refined to a mind-boggling degree. If a Beauman character saunters into a Parisian café on page 83 claiming to have written a Fitzgeraldish novel (The Sorrowful Noble Ones), you can be sure he will raise his elegant head again on page 345. Add in an epigrammatic prose style that revels in the irrational and illogical, and one senses the diverse influences of P G Wodehouse and Douglas Adams: the final section feels like a missing chapter from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Occasionally, the frenetic tone and pace proved trying, and even a little tiring ... But when his wit and his intelligence work in harmony, he sings memorable comic songs.

22/07/2012

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The Sunday Times

Phil Baker

Beauman is an impressive writer and good with images even when he is not being funny, such as his great chandelier hanging “galactically” over a table. He is also highly cerebral, and along with Gorge’s agnosia the book has a number of capricious intellectual fancies including a machine for turning electric eels into eel congee, powered by their own electricity ... suspension of disbelief is neither possible nor required. Piling novelty upon novelty, this is an extraordinary, Pynchonesque flea-circus of a book.

22/07/2012

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The Financial Times

David Evans

The Teleportation Accident, Ned Beauman’s follow-up to his acclaimed debut Boxer, Beetle (2010), is funny and startlingly inventive, but shows little in the way of heart. Beauman’s refusal to evoke any sympathy for his rootless and somewhat pathetic characters renders the book, for all its stylistic virtuosity, a little hollow.

03/08/2012

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