Adverbs (novel)

Adverbs (Novel)

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Adverbs (novel)

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Adverbs is a 2006 novel by Daniel Handler. It is formatted as a collection of seventeen interconnected narratives from the points of view of different people in various sorts of love. Each of the titles is an adverb suggesting what sort of love the people are dealing with. Some people are "wrongly" in love, others are "briefly" in love, and so on. The book focuses on the ways that people fall in love, instead of focusing on who they are in love with.


Adverbs is billed as a novel, but is commonly described by critics and journalists as a collection of short stories. Certainly it breaks some of the traditional conventions of the novel genre. The narrative is driven by half-truths and intentionally misleading statements. The point of view shifts from story to story, characters reappear in unlikely settings, multiple characters have the same name, and Handler himself frequently makes an appearance, not in the role of the narrator, but apparently as the author himself.

While the narratives interlock, they are not sequential; and not all characters who share the same name are in fact the same character - even though they may also share certain similar aspects of personality or physical features. The narrator admits as much: "At the end of the novel, it's Joe who's in the taxi, falling in love with Andrea, although it might not be Andrea, or in any case it might not be the same Andrea, as Andrea is a very common name." Handler re-uses...
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