Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera, scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing ‘Send link’, you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message and data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Altruists Hardcover – 5 March 2019
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
- Publisher : Viking (5 March 2019)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0525522719
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525522713
- Dimensions : 15.85 x 2.72 x 23.57 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Review this product
Top reviews from other countries
one way or the other. We all know somebody , who lacks discipline and wastes money out of boredom. We know those militant dogooders and weak husbands.
The Altruist is very well writen and never boring. I hope to read another Ridker in the future.
There've been many novels and memoirs that cover adult-families-in-crisis. I recently read a novel called "Holy Lands", by British author Amanda Sthers, which covers the same territory but not as well. Ridker's characters are - for the most part - very well drawn. (I think the daughter - Maggie - is a bit of a caricature of the lost post-college girl, roaming around New York City, trying to "find herself"). Most of the story is set in St Louis, where the family had moved from Boston in the mid-1990's when Arthur Alter, a professor, was given a temporary job at "Danforth University". He assumed the job would turn into tenure-track, but it never did. As the years passed, his teaching load was reduced, as was his income and Francine really supported the family with her psychologist practice. (By the way, "Danforth University" seems to be Washington University. Ridker changes the name of the university but keeps all the St Louis and University City landmarks under their right names).
But life in St Louis doesn't go well for the family. They are unable to function as a family long before Francine's death. I pictured them as solos, wandering around their large house, never coming to terms with themselves, or each other. All wounded in their own way. (Picture a family of Jewish "Royal Tennenbaums" and you'll get what Andrew Ridker is trying to draw here).
But the family members - particularly the kids - are aware enough to want to help others in the world. Even father Arthur had tried to better society by going to Zimbabwe as a young man to make "clean latrines" for villagers. And this is where "altruists" shows up in the book, because the Alters may not know their own place in their own world, but are honestly trying to do things to help others outside it. Maybe the Hebrew expression "tikkun olam" is the verb of the noun "altruist" as they're very similar in meaning.
Andrew Ridker has written a beautiful book about a family that the reader can really root for. The ending of the book is a bit strange, but is actually what it should be. I really can recommend "The Altruists".
The Children of Franzen thing is starting to grow rather long in the tooth, including its Jewish-America permutations.
This book layers on a mocking, superior Millennial perspective that I often found obnoxious.
There were a few decent gags and Ridker is a good wordsmith so I'm not totally panning this, but I am dropping my copy at the charity shop.