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Historia de un canalla

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"Soy un canalla y no me arrepiento de serlo. He mentido, engañado y manipulado a mi antojo sin que me importaran las consecuencias. He destruido sueños y reputaciones, he traicionado a los que me han sido leales, he provocado dolor a aquellos que quisieron ayudarme. He jugado con las esperanzas de quienes pensaron que podrían cambiar lo que soy. Sé lo que hice y siempre su "Soy un canalla y no me arrepiento de serlo. He mentido, engañado y manipulado a mi antojo sin que me importaran las consecuencias. He destruido sueños y reputaciones, he traicionado a los que me han sido leales, he provocado dolor a aquellos que quisieron ayudarme. He jugado con las esperanzas de quienes pensaron que podrían cambiar lo que soy. Sé lo que hice y siempre supe lo que debí hacer. Esta es la historia de un canalla. La mía." Thomas Spencer sabe cómo conseguir todo lo que desea. Una salud delicada es el precio que ha tenido que pagar por su estilo de vida, pero no se lamenta por ello. Sin embargo, desde su último episodio cardíaco, una sensación extraña se ha apoderado de él y en la soledad de su lujoso apartamento de Brooklyn, se suceden las noches en que no puede evitar preguntarse cómo habría sido la vida que conscientemente eligió no vivir. El recuerdo de los momentos que le llevaron a triunfar como publicista y asesor de imagen, entre Londres y Nueva York en los ochenta y noventa, nos descubre los turbios mecanismos que en ocasiones emplean los centros de poder para conseguir sus fines. Un mundo hostil, gobernado por hombres, en el que las mujeres se resisten a tener un papel secundario. Un audaz cambio de registro, en el que Julia Navarro disecciona la ambición, la codicia y el egoísmo del ser humano. Sin duda, su novela más psicológica.


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"Soy un canalla y no me arrepiento de serlo. He mentido, engañado y manipulado a mi antojo sin que me importaran las consecuencias. He destruido sueños y reputaciones, he traicionado a los que me han sido leales, he provocado dolor a aquellos que quisieron ayudarme. He jugado con las esperanzas de quienes pensaron que podrían cambiar lo que soy. Sé lo que hice y siempre su "Soy un canalla y no me arrepiento de serlo. He mentido, engañado y manipulado a mi antojo sin que me importaran las consecuencias. He destruido sueños y reputaciones, he traicionado a los que me han sido leales, he provocado dolor a aquellos que quisieron ayudarme. He jugado con las esperanzas de quienes pensaron que podrían cambiar lo que soy. Sé lo que hice y siempre supe lo que debí hacer. Esta es la historia de un canalla. La mía." Thomas Spencer sabe cómo conseguir todo lo que desea. Una salud delicada es el precio que ha tenido que pagar por su estilo de vida, pero no se lamenta por ello. Sin embargo, desde su último episodio cardíaco, una sensación extraña se ha apoderado de él y en la soledad de su lujoso apartamento de Brooklyn, se suceden las noches en que no puede evitar preguntarse cómo habría sido la vida que conscientemente eligió no vivir. El recuerdo de los momentos que le llevaron a triunfar como publicista y asesor de imagen, entre Londres y Nueva York en los ochenta y noventa, nos descubre los turbios mecanismos que en ocasiones emplean los centros de poder para conseguir sus fines. Un mundo hostil, gobernado por hombres, en el que las mujeres se resisten a tener un papel secundario. Un audaz cambio de registro, en el que Julia Navarro disecciona la ambición, la codicia y el egoísmo del ser humano. Sin duda, su novela más psicológica.

30 review for Historia de un canalla

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esteer

    Reseña sin spoilers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-9Gu... Reseña sin spoilers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-9Gu...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    At 849 pages, this book was unnecessarily long. There were many pages bogged down with details that didn't add anything. However, I'm glad I stuck with it because the overall storyline is riveting, and the ending is unforgettable. Once you meet Thomas Spencer, you will never forget him.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The book is beautifully written. However, because of the nature of the main character and because I'm finding it tedious at parts, I've decided to stop reading the book. At least for now

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Tonight, as I look death in the face, I’ll go over what I have lived through. I know what I did, and what I should have done.’ Thomas Spencer, the sociopath referred to in the title, is reflecting on his past. He knows that he is dying. His reflections, covering his childhood, adulthood and decline, will follow a fairly consistent formula. Thomas will mention an event in his life, remember what he did and then reflect on what he should have done. A sociopath is defined as a person with a persona ‘Tonight, as I look death in the face, I’ll go over what I have lived through. I know what I did, and what I should have done.’ Thomas Spencer, the sociopath referred to in the title, is reflecting on his past. He knows that he is dying. His reflections, covering his childhood, adulthood and decline, will follow a fairly consistent formula. Thomas will mention an event in his life, remember what he did and then reflect on what he should have done. A sociopath is defined as a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviour. Thomas Spencer, as written by Ms Navarro, certainly fits this definition. Start with his childhood: he thinks about murdering his younger brother Jaime, terrorises the housekeeper Maria, and tries to break up his parents. By adulthood, he’s perfected his techniques. Some of his behaviour seems without motive (he does some things simply because he can) while other times he is motivated to hurt people, to destroy lives. It makes for difficult and repetitive reading. Thomas Spencer is the master of manipulation, of knowing when to withhold affection or indeed any human reaction which would cause pleasure to those around him. But the novel continues, through this confession of a lifetime, without any remorse. Thomas moves into advertising, into public relations and political campaigning. He takes what he needs: blackmails, coerces and manipulates. He drives one woman to suicide, and ruins the lives of others. Thomas goes out of his way to prove just how bad he is. ‘Years went by without us noticing.’ A classmate of Thomas’s, Esther, falls in love with him. Thomas does not know about love, but he does know about control, about obsession. Esther is ethical and moral, everything that Thomas is not. He treats her as badly as he treats everyone else. His mother dies of cancer: Thomas feels nothing. At over 800 pages, this novel is huge. A few times I put the book down, but I kept reading. The reader knows from the beginning of the novel that Thomas Spencer is dying, for some reason it seemed important to know how and why. When he finally died, I felt relief. I didn’t enjoy this novel, but I became caught up in it. Ms Navarro has created such a thoroughly awful character that I really couldn’t put the book down until I knew he was dead. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I keep going back and forth on this one - was it okay, or did I like it? The prose felt very immature - almost like it was written for a middle school or elementary school audience as opposed to an adult audience. I'm going to assume that's on behalf of the Spanish to English translation, but then I feel like I've lost out on some part of the story - my own mistake for not knowing Spanish, I suppose. It was tedious at parts, and downright slow at others. The re-hashing of the "what I should have I keep going back and forth on this one - was it okay, or did I like it? The prose felt very immature - almost like it was written for a middle school or elementary school audience as opposed to an adult audience. I'm going to assume that's on behalf of the Spanish to English translation, but then I feel like I've lost out on some part of the story - my own mistake for not knowing Spanish, I suppose. It was tedious at parts, and downright slow at others. The re-hashing of the "what I should have done" segments was a bore - I just read how it happened, I can figure out for myself what you would have done differently. I feel like, after each of these though, he went back and said the same thing: something akin to "That's what should have happened/I should have done, but it/I didn't." Like, we understand. Let's please move on - thankfully these became less and less frequent the longer I read. Decline (and some of his later adulthood) were the best parts in my opinion - it was when we truly started to see the emotionless and controlling/despicable acts of a sociopath with absolutely no regard for anything except what he had to gain from each particular situation - which was always spelled out for the readers in extreme detail. I never found myself looking forward to picking this book up to read, but when I did pick it up to read, I didn't want to put it down. I was very easily drawn into the story, and that's why I managed to finish 442 pages in one weekend. Almost one sitting. And that's why I'm going back and forth - do I judge it by how much I actually wanted to read it, or how much I actually enjoyed reading it once I was there?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessika

    A scoundrel's tale. Lots of greed, selfishness, arrogance combined in one character; and although the tale seemed a bit long and redundant I couldn't stop reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    Yikes. Sometimes one finds oneself in the midst of a difficult read. An 800+ page difficult read. The book is no more and no less than the title claims... In the interest of my followers general mental health, I include the following conditions under which they should not indulge in this particular tale: 1. diagnosed depressive disease 2. previous occupation as a(n) escort, prostitute, companion, etc. 3. previous diagnosis of any mental abnormalities including paranoia, bi-polar, narcissistic, or Yikes. Sometimes one finds oneself in the midst of a difficult read. An 800+ page difficult read. The book is no more and no less than the title claims... In the interest of my followers general mental health, I include the following conditions under which they should not indulge in this particular tale: 1. diagnosed depressive disease 2. previous occupation as a(n) escort, prostitute, companion, etc. 3. previous diagnosis of any mental abnormalities including paranoia, bi-polar, narcissistic, or suicidal tendencies. 4. problems, in general, with men, relationships, and self esteem. Seriously. If you are prone to "accommodating" men in your life for myriad reasons, SKIP THIS BOOK. Pros: if you are a confident woman, completely able to make hard choices to free yourself from life altering situations, or a man with strongly empathetic abilities, and basically totally reliant on your own self esteem... wow. Bottom line. Emotionally wobbly readers, move along. The rest of you, understand that this is 800+ pages of the most emotionally challenging male bullshit that exists. If you make it to the end, you may find 5 pages of redemption. P.S. If you decide to take on this book (and I kind of really hope you do), SKIP EVERYTHING IN ITALICS. The alternate viewpoints are pointless and a waste of time. Trust me. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Felicia Glover

    This book had the potential to be an interesting read but it was 866 page ... too long. Though the ending was just for the main male character, I felt there was not much character development for the "sociopath"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    I enjoyed this one and didn't mind the length. It helped me better understand the mind of a sociopath.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    First thing I would like to say is that this book could have made its point in less pages than this. It was way too long winded. Though the story kept my interest it was slow going and too tedious a read. It was an ok read but I would not recommend to anyone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    200/800 pages and I'm counting it read because the repetitive shit I'm ingesting is far too blasé for me. Me, a monotonous "sociopath" myself. The novel begins saying something about how you're more interesting at twenty than in the rest of your life. I read a novel-length's into the work, in which I'm assuming he's in his twenties, as it recounts his life, and there is nothing interesting about him. There are plenty of ways to make your apathetic sociopath interesting: see Zombie by Joyce Carol 200/800 pages and I'm counting it read because the repetitive shit I'm ingesting is far too blasé for me. Me, a monotonous "sociopath" myself. The novel begins saying something about how you're more interesting at twenty than in the rest of your life. I read a novel-length's into the work, in which I'm assuming he's in his twenties, as it recounts his life, and there is nothing interesting about him. There are plenty of ways to make your apathetic sociopath interesting: see Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates, see every grown male protagonist in Nabokov's work. You're basically reading a recount of one of the most mundane lives. The characters often comment on Thomas, our protagonist, and his cynical nature. But he's not a cynic. He's a corpse. His observations are written with no conviction. The author does not show us he is mad, she tells us. "I responded, irritated." "I said, angry." "I said with conviction." But there's nothing to make me believe that. Besides listing out his day to day process without an inkling of color (I think the only instance of imagery comes in insulting the appearance of some women), he doesn't even seem that angry. He just seems like an indifferent spectator. Which, I'll admit, is an accurate representation of a "sociopath" (AKA secondary psychopath, AKA he has ASPD). But it's not good material for a novel. If you're going to write about a sociopath, talk about his dark lusts, his prey, his ambition. I don't want to read about his average lifestyle despite being denoted as taking place in the upper echelons of New York society. No, I'm not saying to depend on shock factor. I'm saying that 800 pages of a misogynist's life in which he doesn't do much and watches people slap each other over the most average and unconvincing "horrors" he brings about doesn't make for a very good novel. Yes, it's initially gripping. Beginning appropriately at his childhood, it could be an interesting predecessor for the sickening mind and the doomed man's downfall, given that this is a supposed "psychological thriller." But if there isn't a hint of his fascinations, vitriolic criticisms, anything that might contribute to, I don't know, A PLOT, then what's the point? Yes, this is how sociopaths think. I'm willing to believe it. But it sure as hell doesn't make for a good story. Even if it does descend into madness, or a tale worth reading, I won't read any further to find out. The text may just be poorly translated, as Miss Narvarro's original printing is in Spanish, but it comes out like a middle schooler's post-English lesson. "Don't ever use the word said! Use WAILED. Use GROWLED. Use MOANED. It'll substitute nicely for good writing." Normal facets of the art of writing are completely void here. I don't feel any conviction to continue the novel. Which is sad; I'm usually keen on the morally corrupt.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    This is a difficult book to review. It is particularly lengthy and it is told from the viewpoint of the sociopath in the title. By nature, sociopaths are a turn off. This one, Thomas Spencer, is no exception. Thomas grows up in an upper middle class household. His father is an attorney in a second generation New York law firm. His mother is a nurse who is half Mexican and half American. His younger brother is a lovely person with a personality that all love and a golden future. Thomas is a diffi This is a difficult book to review. It is particularly lengthy and it is told from the viewpoint of the sociopath in the title. By nature, sociopaths are a turn off. This one, Thomas Spencer, is no exception. Thomas grows up in an upper middle class household. His father is an attorney in a second generation New York law firm. His mother is a nurse who is half Mexican and half American. His younger brother is a lovely person with a personality that all love and a golden future. Thomas is a difficult person from childhood all the way to death. As the story opens, Thomas and his brother Jaime are both children. Thomas is adored by his father, despised by the nanny/maid and distant with his mother. He is cruel to his younger brother as well as animals. He is unpleasant in every way but he is the heart of the story and there is little or no reprieve from Thomas. What is great about this story is that sociopaths are most often shown to be criminals. In this story, the sociopathic tendencies of Thomas, translate into a certain amount of success in his chosen profession – advertising. His methods though, leave a lot of collateral damage in his wake. As Thomas narrates the story, there are a number of places where he explains how an event played out. But he also gives an alternative narrative, in italics, about what he could have done instead. Thomas never chooses the correct or pleasing or socially appropriate response however. As the book proceeds from childhood, to young adulthood, to adulthood, to old age, Thomas becomes increasingly less pleasant and more sadistic. Sadly, he is also the most successful character in the book and as life often imitates art, many of us can see how it works the same in the big wide world. Thomas destroys lives, including many of those closest to him. He is unable to love although it is something that he desperately seeks and is unable to receive much less understand. The story takes place in both New York and London with a segue to Madrid that felt incomplete. Strangely, it is the one time in the story that one feels Thomas has found what amounts to him, happiness and peace. It is also the one place in the world where as much as he is able, he abstains from damage. It is one of those books I can’t stop thinking about so therefore, it must have resonated more than I thought. It is long – almost 900 pages, so it is one with length and depth and requires a commitment of time. If psychological manipulation and gaslighting interest you, and you want to better understand the mind of a sociopath, then this one is for you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    Even after 849 pages I didn't want this one to end!! It seemed like a true story to me - very probable!! Thomas was a total monster but it was interesting to see how he was able to manipulate both men and women. My review is the only one in English!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This novel is like reading about a train wreck waiting to happen. The main character is completely deplorable but just fascinating enough that you can't help but continue reading to see what will happen next. Thomas Spencer is a sociopath who was born into a prominent family with the means for a good life, however, he could not enjoy life nor allow others their happiness. From birth to death, Thomas went out of his way to be the sole controller of others fates, even inadvertently leading to thre This novel is like reading about a train wreck waiting to happen. The main character is completely deplorable but just fascinating enough that you can't help but continue reading to see what will happen next. Thomas Spencer is a sociopath who was born into a prominent family with the means for a good life, however, he could not enjoy life nor allow others their happiness. From birth to death, Thomas went out of his way to be the sole controller of others fates, even inadvertently leading to three deaths. Towards the end of his life, after suffering several heart attacks, Thomas becomes paranoid and believes his wife and mistress are slowly trying to poison him. In turn, he sets up a living will to point fingers at them and drag their names through the dirt. I wasn't really satisfied with the ending. It seemed to end abruptly after spending so much time with Thomas bemoaning his suspicions of poison. Overall, it was an interesting read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Ayers

    Well, finally done. That took awhile! Of course, it's over 800 pages long! Geez! Okay, it's not that I didn't like it, but I do wish the author had had an aggressive editor. The main character, Thomas Spencer, being the sociopath, is truly awful. Even he admits he's a bad person. But to prove it, we start from his childhood and go through his ENTIRE life, leaving out nothing. He loves to torture women, mostly psychologically and by controlling their lives, allowing them no happiness. Okay, well, Well, finally done. That took awhile! Of course, it's over 800 pages long! Geez! Okay, it's not that I didn't like it, but I do wish the author had had an aggressive editor. The main character, Thomas Spencer, being the sociopath, is truly awful. Even he admits he's a bad person. But to prove it, we start from his childhood and go through his ENTIRE life, leaving out nothing. He loves to torture women, mostly psychologically and by controlling their lives, allowing them no happiness. Okay, well, he's a sociopath. But he did it over and over and over. Not sure the reader needed to go with him over and over and over. Get my drift? Also, there's lots of conversation in the book, natural and well written, except that none of them are the tiniest bit abbreviated. And the talkers frequently repeat themselves. Yes, that happens in real-life, but I don't need to read that. Anyway, if you have several weeks, Thomas Spencer can become an addictive presence in your world, if for no other reason than to see what this sociopath does. He knows he could do things differently. He knows he makes people suffer. But he doesn't care. Yeah, it's worth a read...and a skim.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lexxie

    I have a thing for pop-psych and fiction, so this title and its "International Best Seller" advertisement had me sold. But, in the end I'd say it was generally a waste of time. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it, it did have it's positives (drama? I guess) but overall it wasn't the read I wanted and it really just wasn't worth the time. Criticisms: - The setting. When does this book take place exactly? Thomas is a middle aged man, I think, when he tells the story. But he's had a cell phon I have a thing for pop-psych and fiction, so this title and its "International Best Seller" advertisement had me sold. But, in the end I'd say it was generally a waste of time. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it, it did have it's positives (drama? I guess) but overall it wasn't the read I wanted and it really just wasn't worth the time. Criticisms: - The setting. When does this book take place exactly? Thomas is a middle aged man, I think, when he tells the story. But he's had a cell phone for a long time, I think. Idk I'm confused. There is a significant lack of description throughout, specifically within the context of time. It's annoying. - The middle of the book. Throughout most of the book, we're getting an ultra detailed play by play of Thomas' career. It's a snooze fest, and frankly only depicts his lack of morality, not really his "sociopathy." There is also a hilarious secondary theme that portrays the evils of power and it's impact on the environment. I say it's hilarious because I work in politics and it's clear the authors only read a book or two by an author with the same level of unknowing. Also, if she wrote "mobilize the environmental groups" one more time I might have shot myself in the face. - Thomas as a sociopath: this was probably the most disappointing aspect of the book. I really wanted to read about a sociopath. Hear his inner, selfish, fucked up thoughts, and, yeah, Thomas is a totally shitty person. But would a sociopath ever express regret about what he's done? Probably not, he's a sociopath! But, alas, that is the entire frame of the novel, and the author's single, immature attempt to combat that glaring contradiction is to repeatedly pen: "but I didn't regret it" or "I don't regret it", oh please, read King's "On Writing" and learn to show not tell. - The frame work. I sort of already said this, but it was so ANNOYING. Throughout the book Thomas discusses his behavior then literally says, "but I could have done that differently, the scene could have played out like this:" OMG are we 5? It happens dozens of times and it's just a really poor, immature form of depiction. Good things: -The drama. It was actually interesting when Thomas was treating his women poorly, but I still hated how week all of them were. Idk, I clearly hate this book. Just don't read it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber Patrick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I gave this book 3 stars because while I found the plot entertaining enough, I found irreconcilable aspects of the plot and prose. For starters, I absolutely hated the “I should have done this... yes, I could have done this, but I didn’t”. It was written in the exact same way and it felt completely irrelevant to the plot after a third time. Perhaps the author wanted to indicate that Thomas did know how more positive reactions to situations would give him more positive outcomes. However, after a f I gave this book 3 stars because while I found the plot entertaining enough, I found irreconcilable aspects of the plot and prose. For starters, I absolutely hated the “I should have done this... yes, I could have done this, but I didn’t”. It was written in the exact same way and it felt completely irrelevant to the plot after a third time. Perhaps the author wanted to indicate that Thomas did know how more positive reactions to situations would give him more positive outcomes. However, after a first few times, readers would know that Thomas understood the consequences to his actions. I found parts of the plot extremely unrealistic. Thomas seems to just get what he wants even without manipulation. Most notably, he decides he wants to have an affair with Constance and then she just seems to fall in his lap a day later. Or, it’s so unrealistic that one of the biggest ad agencies in London would just happen to pick him up and would do anything to have this young, inexperienced kid on their team. The ending was drawn out. It was clear Esther and Olivia were poisoning him. I didn’t need 50 pages on how he grappled with it. I would rather an ending where he sees a psychiatrist and begins to navigate the complexities of his own evil mind. I wouldn’t want an ending where he finally is held accountable for his evils because that’s rarely how life works, however, diving into his own psyche might be more interesting to me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book was an effort to finish. The brick (as the paperback version is over 850 pages long) follows Thomas Spencer, an upper class ad man who is trying to become successful in New York. You read about his childhood at home with his parents and brother, all the way to the day he dies. However, what's unique about Thomas is that he has no conscience, no guilt, no care for hurting or manipulating anyone in his way to get what he wants. I would say that for the first half of this book, it didn't This book was an effort to finish. The brick (as the paperback version is over 850 pages long) follows Thomas Spencer, an upper class ad man who is trying to become successful in New York. You read about his childhood at home with his parents and brother, all the way to the day he dies. However, what's unique about Thomas is that he has no conscience, no guilt, no care for hurting or manipulating anyone in his way to get what he wants. I would say that for the first half of this book, it didn't seem that Thomas was truly a sociopath. He simply recounted memories from his past where he acted in a slightly manipulative manner, reflecting on what he could have said or done differently to treat those around him better. However, once you reach the middle of this story, you finally learn of all the horrible, cruel things Thomas is capable of. It was then that I truly believed he was a sociopath, and that I was determined to finish the book to see if Thomas was defeated at the end. I would agree with other reviewers that the sentence structure seemed a bit simple, but that is likely because this book is a translation to English. And I would agree that it could have been 200-250 pages shorter, as there were a lot of unnecessary details included. But overall, this novel was impressive and I'm glad I got the chance to enjoy it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Diego

    After reading this book I must say. F*CK! Finally I ended it, and I must say that in the last 400 pages I was hoping to end ASAP. I meeeean. The story is not the best ever but it could have been a little more bearable if the book was like 500 pages less. It's too long for a story that doesn't need that much of pages to be told. Hated all the parts of "if I had done this...", you did it, you can't regret it. Stop it please. Of course hated Thomas, I mean, that's the meaning of this book. And also After reading this book I must say. F*CK! Finally I ended it, and I must say that in the last 400 pages I was hoping to end ASAP. I meeeean. The story is not the best ever but it could have been a little more bearable if the book was like 500 pages less. It's too long for a story that doesn't need that much of pages to be told. Hated all the parts of "if I had done this...", you did it, you can't regret it. Stop it please. Of course hated Thomas, I mean, that's the meaning of this book. And also I didn't like the finale. Things were so easy, he didn't paid enough for everything he did but ok What did I like? It's a realistic book, nothing there is fictional at all. Loved any other character that wasn't Thomas. I guess that's it. Also have to say that is my fault I decided to read a book this long after a terrible reading slump. That's also why it took like 2-3 months. (But also bc the plot line and most of the book was awful) This makes me thing a lot if I should keep reading a book I'm not liking it and finish it. That happened to me like in page 300, I read other 500 pages to reassure I hated the book. Was it commitment? Or was because I was going to feel bad of myself? Either way, I must rethink if a book is going bad, I should leave it

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lizz Conley

    Terrible. I think a portion of the blame falls to the translator. I can only hope that the original Spanish was less awkward and juvenile in its word choices and sentence structure. It immediately felt as though I was reading a story written by someone who speaks English as a second language. A proper translation should not leave that impression. But the translator can’t be blamed for the rest of it. The weird “maybe I should have” retelling of every scene was tedious and after the second one I b Terrible. I think a portion of the blame falls to the translator. I can only hope that the original Spanish was less awkward and juvenile in its word choices and sentence structure. It immediately felt as though I was reading a story written by someone who speaks English as a second language. A proper translation should not leave that impression. But the translator can’t be blamed for the rest of it. The weird “maybe I should have” retelling of every scene was tedious and after the second one I barely skimmed anything printed in italics. And would a true sociopath even do that? Would they care that they could have done things differently for the sole purpose of sparing someone else’s feelings? And the main character also pointed out multiple times that he didn’t care that he was hurting someone else with what he said or did. So what was even the point of the reflections? That whole aspect of the story killed the whole thing for me. I never quit books, but I quit this one. Maybe if it had been shorter I would have stuck it out, but I’m not going to waste time cringing and rolling my eyes for 800+ pages.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Navarro certainly knows how to weave an intricate tale of one particular asshole being a huge, selfish asshole to everyone around him. As simple as that sounds, it's actually quite complex, and for that, I wonder if Navarro understands the human condition more than most others do. So much so, she made the main character such a cold, emotionless prick that I'm thoroughly glad he's not a real person. Although I know there are many people in the world like him, which is actually quite terrifying. P Navarro certainly knows how to weave an intricate tale of one particular asshole being a huge, selfish asshole to everyone around him. As simple as that sounds, it's actually quite complex, and for that, I wonder if Navarro understands the human condition more than most others do. So much so, she made the main character such a cold, emotionless prick that I'm thoroughly glad he's not a real person. Although I know there are many people in the world like him, which is actually quite terrifying. Props to Navarro for such a feat into the psychosis of a sociopath. Maybe not a story I can imagine myself revisiting, but one that was definitely worth the read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I could only read about half of the book before I gave up on it, and I skipped about half of that. The sections where he explains what he would have done if he wasn't a sociopath seem like pointless padding. No one needs it explained what a normal person would have done. The rest of the book, the part that actually explored the life and motivations of the main character, just...weren't that interesting. He clearly thought everything he did to screw people over was brilliant but as a reader it re I could only read about half of the book before I gave up on it, and I skipped about half of that. The sections where he explains what he would have done if he wasn't a sociopath seem like pointless padding. No one needs it explained what a normal person would have done. The rest of the book, the part that actually explored the life and motivations of the main character, just...weren't that interesting. He clearly thought everything he did to screw people over was brilliant but as a reader it really just wasn't that genius. Or engaging in any way. I realized I was dreading reading it and just pushing through so I could read something else, so I stopped.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm going to echo the sentiments of a lot of other reviews I read in that the italicized "I could have/should have done this instead" parts were super unnecessary and boring. Otherwise, it was a fine read. The length didn't bother me as it seemed to bother some others, but I was a little confused on the ending & couldn't find anyone else that had thoughts on it? I think the protagonist just died of his unhealthy lifestyle, not the wife/mistresses poisoning him, but I'm not sure. It would have be I'm going to echo the sentiments of a lot of other reviews I read in that the italicized "I could have/should have done this instead" parts were super unnecessary and boring. Otherwise, it was a fine read. The length didn't bother me as it seemed to bother some others, but I was a little confused on the ending & couldn't find anyone else that had thoughts on it? I think the protagonist just died of his unhealthy lifestyle, not the wife/mistresses poisoning him, but I'm not sure. It would have been way cooler if the women DID poison him because good lord, was this guy bad to women! I get that was the point, but it would have been cool to see him purposefully struck down :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lesa Parnham

    I really liked this book although it was depressing from start to finish. It took me deep into the mind of a person that I can't even imagine. To realize that there are people out there who genuinely think like Thomas is horrifying. I do think the book was too long and could have been told with 150-200 pages left. The book also didn't explain the change of heart (what little he had) that Thomas had with Esther. As I said, I really liked this book, but I did not enjoy it. At this point, I just wa I really liked this book although it was depressing from start to finish. It took me deep into the mind of a person that I can't even imagine. To realize that there are people out there who genuinely think like Thomas is horrifying. I do think the book was too long and could have been told with 150-200 pages left. The book also didn't explain the change of heart (what little he had) that Thomas had with Esther. As I said, I really liked this book, but I did not enjoy it. At this point, I just want to read something like a mystery or a love story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Juan Rivera

    Have you met people who said only to take advantage of others, to try that nobody is happy because they are not themselves, to see everything bad always, even when things are good? Being such a person and being next to someone who is good, can end them, can destroy them and also turn them into bad people. Julia Navarro, in her excellent work, tells the life of someone like that, Thomas, and in many cases reflects how easy it could have been to change his attitude with people who wanted him, but he Have you met people who said only to take advantage of others, to try that nobody is happy because they are not themselves, to see everything bad always, even when things are good? Being such a person and being next to someone who is good, can end them, can destroy them and also turn them into bad people. Julia Navarro, in her excellent work, tells the life of someone like that, Thomas, and in many cases reflects how easy it could have been to change his attitude with people who wanted him, but he was not willing to do, making them suffer and living the worst of lives to all of them.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sage

    This book was absolutely phenomenal. It was immensely disturbing but incredibly beautiful. I couldn't put it down. Score Breakdown: 3 points for the incredible characterization of Thomas Spencer. 1 point for the amazing prose. 1 point for the beautifully ambiguous ending. Total: 5/5 Cannot recommend enough.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lilli

    The book was much longer than necessary and included details that were unimportant (like the Bob/Evelyn detour). And, the protagonist really wasn't that bad. He was a bitter person who manipulated people via violence and threats. Thomas Spencer's behavior wasn't much different from US politicians and amoral characters in corporate America.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I stopped at p 560 when I realized I just didn’t care anymore about anyone in this book. I did enjoy parts of it and even came to admire some of the characters, but too many words for too few actual events. The storyline was rambling and some places I could skip entire pages and still know what was going on.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Umaña

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Probably only review in English .. Anyways the book to me is great except for the slanted paragraphs discussing how he should've handled the situation, I just skipped those entirely after a few . Author was able to capture the life of a sociopathy fairly good as for the ending ? Questionable

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jalen Guichardo

    Only read up until about 450 but it felt redundant and I had to push myself to go that far. The plot dragged and the main character would go into reflective moments repeatedly talking about what the way things should have went. The international bestselling title definitely misled me.

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