The Necessary Beggar

Susan Palwick

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The Necessary Beggar

The Necessary Beggar Susan Palwick author of the remarkable Flying in Place now returns with a compelling new novel of a family cast out of an idyllic realm learning to live in our own troubled world With its richly im

  • Title: The Necessary Beggar
  • Author: Susan Palwick
  • ISBN: 9780765349514
  • Page: 228
  • Format: Paperback
  • Susan Palwick, author of the remarkable Flying in Place, now returns with a compelling new novel of a family cast out of an idyllic realm, learning to live in our own troubled world With its richly imagined portrayal of a lost culture, complete with poetry and fables, traditions and customs, and its searing yet sympathetic view of own society as seen through new eyes, TheSusan Palwick, author of the remarkable Flying in Place, now returns with a compelling new novel of a family cast out of an idyllic realm, learning to live in our own troubled world With its richly imagined portrayal of a lost culture, complete with poetry and fables, traditions and customs, and its searing yet sympathetic view of own society as seen through new eyes, The Necessary Beggar is an compelling examination of humanity and the redemptive power of love, in the spirit of Ursula K Le Guin s The Dispossessed and Robert A Heinlein s Stranger in a Strange Land L mabantunk, the Glorious City, is a place of peace and plenty, of festivals and flowers, bejeweled streets and glittering waterfalls But it is also a land of severe justice Darroti, a young merchant, has been accused of an unforgiveable crime the brutal murder a highborn woman Now, in keeping with the customs of their world, his entire family must share in his punishment exile to the unknown world that lies beyond a mysterious gate Passing through that gate, and grieving for the life they leave behind, Darroti and his family find themselves in a harsh and hostile land America just a few years hence, a country under attack in a world torn by hatred and warfare Unable to explain their origin, they are rapidly remanded to an internment camp in the Nevada desert, along with thousands of other refugees There they endeavor to make sense of this ill fated land where strange gods are worshipped, and living things like flowers and insects are not respected After Darroti, unable to bear his disgrace, takes his life, the rest of the family escapes to the outside world There, each tries to cope in their own way Timbor, the head of the clan, troubled by the restless spirit of his departed son who comes to him in dreams, does his best to preserve the old ways, and avoid conflict with the outsiders His eldest son Masofo, who calls himself Max, is lured by the worldly temptations of this new world, while his second son, Erolorit, strives to make a decent life for his family But it is Timor s granddaughter, Zamatryna, who is the quickest to adjust to this strange new world It is she who is the first to learn its language, to adopt its customs, to accept this place as her new home And, as the strain of adapting themselves to this new life begins to tear the family apart, it is Zama, sustained by the extraordinary love of an ordinary young man, who finds a way to heal their grief and give them new hope.

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      228 Susan Palwick
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      Posted by:Susan Palwick
      Published :2019-01-08T10:29:14+00:00

    One thought on “The Necessary Beggar

    1. Allison on said:

      Magic! This book is magic. It's the kind of book where you just want to give the author a Nobel Prize and let her rule the world because she just gets how it's supposed to be. Her book "Flying in Place" is a riveting, heartwrenching story of a young girl in a horrifying family situation. It was the kind of really good book that's really hard to read -- and I didn't even have children when I read it.The Necessary Beggar is quite a different book. The family in question is colourful and close-knit [...]

    2. Juushika on said:

      When one son is accused of murder, his entire family is exiled from their glorious city of Lémabantuk, sent to a new world—where they find themselves in the Nevada desert. A story of two cultures and faiths blending, The Necessary Beggar is unexpected magical realism, combining gritty but irreverent daily life with glimpses of sentimental magic. The novel has a number of faults, including out of place scifi elements and uneven pacing; nonetheless, it has thoughtful and intelligent (if overwrou [...]

    3. Joe Hunt on said:

      I like this book fine ! (Only halfway through.)I usually consider myself more of a Fantasy guy It's a little science-fiction--but that's fine, too.I started reading b/c read some review: "Takes place in Nevada" I was like "Science Fiction in Nevada? That's where I live?" and "Interesting how she blends in some religion." I was like "Really?" (I happen to be a believer.)So: the review was completely right--it is really interesting: how she takes some people from another world, exiled to Nevada. A [...]

    4. Carol on said:

      This short sci-fi/magical realist novel is about an extended family who, because one of their members commits a heinous crime, is exiled from their world into more-or-less present-day America. They progress from a refugee camp to a comfortable life in suburban Reno, all the while trying to understand both the events that brought them there and the nature of their new home. While the plot does give a nod to the conventions of the successful immigrant narrative (the older generation finds artisan [...]

    5. Ali M. on said:

      A gorgeous fantasy novel about family and belonging, blessings and curses, faith and redemption and integration, with far more to say about our present-day world than about the world its characters come from. The Necessary Beggar could so easily have taken a predictable tack through its narrative - especially since it functions, with zero qualms, as an allegory for modern-day refugees - but Palwick dodges that bullet with effortless grace. She accomplishes something I don't always see in SF/F: a [...]

    6. Lori on said:

      Heart-wrenching tale of a family torn apart, building walls between each other even as they are exiled to a strange new world - the United States. From a society where helping others is a part of life to a place where those who are different are seen as less. Wish I could give 4.5 stars.

    7. Madeline on said:

      I didn't really remember anything about this book, which I'd added to my t-r shelf after I read a short story by Palwick, which (as is usual with Tor shorts) I found kind of disappointing but also promising, and when I looked her up this was the book with the coolest title that my library had. I make very careful decisions, clearly Daniel Kahneman would be pleased with me [I'm leaving that one wide open for you, you're welcome]. Anyway, there I was, ages (two years) later, flipping the book open [...]

    8. Heidi on said:

      This book is a Gem. It has just the right amount of everything in it; it's the beginning of perfect.I don't remember why I picked The Necessary Beggar to read probably because it was on one of NPR's suggested reading lists (it fits with the liberal agenda thing). Anyway, after having already checked it out from the library, I decided that I didn't think I'd like the story. So I came here to and read reviews about it and really decided that I wouldn't like it. There are very few Sci-Fi books tha [...]

    9. Olivera P. on said:

      I was very skeptic about this book because I got it almost blindly, carried away by the short story about it form the back of the book (actually it was inside of the covers). I thought it would be more adventurous alike, therefore I was a bit disappointed by reading all the religious stuff, especially in the beginning/middle of it. But I guess this just came to me out of nowhere crashing my expectations. Which was in a way good. No one wants to read something they think can predict from the begi [...]

    10. Julie on said:

      This is another book that, given the description of it, I would not have found interesting and picked up. I only picked it up and read it because Susan Palwick wrote it.The premise is a family is sent into exile through a gateway so they end up in a refugee camp in Nevada in our near future. They have to learn English and how to get along in America -- and figure out how to get out of the refugee camp when they have no papers and are from no known country in the world.So the book is about that, [...]

    11. Marcia on said:

      I bought this book at the Dollar store, and it was definately worth a dollar (maybe even two or three). The writing was good in some parts, but down right laughable in others. While I found parts of the story and characters very compelling, other parts were rediculous and hard to stay interested in It was a very quick read, otherwise I probably would have gotten bored and put it down a long time ago. However I found the ending satisfying and was glad that I finished it. If you like romance and f [...]

    12. Bethany on said:

      This vaguely sci-fi, vaguely religious book is interesting. There were definitely times that I was confused about what was occurring, but I almost always figured it out. (The main exception to this is why, exactly, one of the characters dies and his soul inhabits a damp towel…) The Necessary Beggar is about a refugee family and their struggles to overcome their past; the main issue is that they are from another dimension rather than another country. Palwick has some interesting things to say a [...]

    13. M— on said:

      Not a perfect novel, but a lovely one. This was such a well-told, heartbreaking book, but I didn't love it as much as I loved Flying in Place.I need to bump Palwick's Shelter far higher on my TBR list. And I need acquire a copy of her short-story collection, The Fate of Mice STAT.

    14. Amaha on said:

      An intimate, well-crafted, somewhat anthropological book (think Ursula LeGuin, Mary Dora Russell, or Samuel Delany) at the intersection of science fiction, fantasy, and ghost story. Refugees are currently dominating US headlines; this story of a family of interdimensional exiles who end up in a refugee resettlement camp is true to the experiences of forced migrants while also fantastically inventive. The hyper-achieving, self-denying daughter fixated on fitting into US society will be immediatel [...]

    15. Laura on said:

      Excellent tale of the refugee experience, chronicling the toll that adaptation takes and the hidden cost of secrets. When one of their number is exiled for murder, his extended family joins him in exile, stepping through the doorway to an unknown alternate dimension- ours. Together, they must learn to adapt to this new world, first in a refugee camp and then in the larger world. The acculturation process is not an easy one for everything here is truly alien to them. The family strives to fit in [...]

    16. Judy on said:

      Our characters have been exiled from their universe due to the crime of one member, and wind up as refugees in our universe. I loved the detailed evocation of their culture and beliefs, and the resonance between those and the new culture and beliefs they are exposed to their new life in America. I am not a religious person, but I enjoyed the exploration of the theme of forgiveness and charity in the two universes. Some of the ideas are a bit of a stretch, in particular (view spoiler)[ the abilit [...]

    17. Mindy Miller on said:

      Some graphic sexual situations that still bother me months later. That was very diappointing since I appreciated the ponderous character of the grandfather and what he had to say. Did not finish reading, mainly because the passionate relationship became based solely on sex and severly lacked trust--resulting in death and exile. Was afraid the book would condone those relationships despite the consequences (saying the consequences were tragic but there was nothing wrong with the journey that led [...]

    18. Danielle on said:

      A great novel, with both substance and story. My husband and I chose this to read together based on the title, and were pleasantly surprised and what a good book it was. It doesn't read nearly as sci-fi as the premise suggests (a family from another world transported here through a mystical portal). It's much more like a fictional middle eastern society than an alien one. The writing was good but not spectacular, but the characters were endearing and their plight interesting.

    19. Mara on said:

      This is a hard book to classify. The sticker on the outside labels it science fiction and it is sort-of that because it is set in our reality with a few tweeks. It is more a philosophical exploration of Christianity, morality, acceptance, family love and honesty, wrapped up in an interesting story. This would be a good book club read, although there are a couple of swear words scattered throughout the book.

    20. Ben on said:

      I'm in the middle of reading it for the second time. Parts of it are so sad, but it's very sweet too. It'll probably make you cry if you're one of those watery types. It's about a family from another world that gets banished from their world when one of the young men is accused of murder. They walk through a door and end up in our Nevada about 10-20 years from now. I highly recommend it.

    21. Chris on said:

      The premise (critique of US society generally and of its treatment of refugees in particular through the eyes of a family of refugees from Fantasyland) is fraught with opportunities for heavy-handed triteness, but it's all done sensitively and with a lightness of touch and acuity of observation that make it as involving as it is persuasive.

    22. Sarah on said:

      When Darroti, a young merchant in the city of Lemabantunk, is accused of murdering a highborn woman, he and his family are exiled to the unknown world that lies beyond a mysterious gate, where they encounter a world tormented by hatred and warfare. Alex Award. One of the best fantasies I've read this year.

    23. Wendy on said:

      Couldn't get into it, so slow to start and the bland description of acts that every reader would already understand since they were from our culture were tedious. I don't like the idea of zama being the golden child - maybe she wouldn't be if I finished the book - because it was so cliche. I was left saying so what and unable to keep reading.

    24. Joant on said:

      Part science fiction, part fairy tale, part spiritual tale. I enjoyed this story of family grief, family love and acceptance. I especially loved the image of the towel that would not dry as it was filled with tears.

    25. Theresa on said:

      Wow short and meaningful- I loved this look at American life from the view of outsiders. Item was also a look at multiple viewpoints in a multi generational family. Secrets and lies create much of the drama in this story. The ending provides a very satisfactory closure.

    26. Sarah on said:

      Palwick is a wonderful writer who creates vivid characters and intelligent, engaging plots. This novel is almost, but not quite, a parable -- and it makes points in the way a parable does: quietly, unobtrusively, and unforgettably.

    27. Joy on said:

      A family from another dimension is exiled to ours and ends up at a refugee camp in Nevada in the near-future. We see them adjust to life in the US and also, eventually, unravel the issue that brought them hereRY VERY good.

    28. Carly R on said:

      Engaging and thought provoking read. The writing is heart wrenching and captivating. I particularly enjoyed the way the author didn't subscribe to any single genre. I would have liked more background about the land of Lémabantunk.

    29. Julie on said:

      One of the most beautiful family stories I've ever read. The challenges the family face as they are exiled in a strange world (U.S.A.) test their close-knit bonds, and no one is perfect but there is a deep love.

    30. Hope N on said:

      A simple but beautiful story about love and family, exile and forgiveness. Easy to read. Decent writing with an especially profound understanding of human relationships (even if the main characters are from another dimension).

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