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Paperback Coming Soon!!! : A Narrative Book

ISBN: 0618257306

ISBN13: 9780618257300

Coming Soon!!! : A Narrative

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Book Overview

In this novelistic romp that is by turns hilarious and brilliant, John Barth spoofs his own place in the pantheon of contemporary fiction and the generation of writers who have followed his literary trailblazing. Coming Soon!!! is the tale of two writers: an older, retiring novelist setting out to write his last work and a young, aspiring writer of hypertext intent on toppling his master. In the heat of their rivalry, the writers navigate, and sometimes...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Coming Soon!!!

Coming Soon!!! (Or End Time, or The New Show) is a joyous post-modern romp, a witty, intelligent mash of ideas hovering around the central conceit of a showboat, an author, and another author. The plot is difficult to explain. John Barth - the author - wrote, as his first book, The Floating Opera, a novel that was loosely about The Original Floating Opera, a showboat on the Chesapeake. Johns Hopkins Johnson is an aspiring young author, and for his master's writing thesis, he wishes to create a sequel to The Floating Opera, a sequel that involves Johns writing his version of the sequel, and John Barth - the fictional character - writing another at the same time, in a competition. John Barth (A) reads this thesis submission and is intrigued, deciding that he would like to write the same novel, in a competition as well. So. We have the real author writing a story where the author 'John Barth' is writing a sequel to his previous novel while a young wannabe author attempts it as well, and while this is happening, a young wannabe author is writing a sequel to John Barth's novel while a character of John Barth is doing the same. Confusing. But it isn't, really. Barth manages to handle this story-within-a-story gimmick quite well, and in fact he does it in a few other ways on top of that. At the beginning of the real, physical novel, we are assuming that we are reading the Novel Emeritus' - the real John Barth - version, but by the end of the novel, there have been enough scattered hints to suggest that maybe Johns Hopkins Johnson won the challenge, and we are actually reading his novel. Maybe it is both? The question is never conclusively answered, and couldn't be, really, as the answer would lie in the universe outside the novel. Post-modern plot aside, Barth absolutely revels in playing with the English language. He capitalises words to add emphasis, combines words, rambles on, inserts commentary about his own personal life, et ceteras, abbreviates and just has fun: 'Detour now, is it, O Opter of the Options, Clicker of the Clicker, Mastress of the Might Mouse? Detour it is, then, even as Mlle Sherry Singer directed back there in (my) Chap. 1, 'Commencement' - Where last we saw your Novelist Aspirant & Apprentice narrator hip-hopping south and east and south again on wings of desire,...' and so on and so on. There are puns: On the The Original Floating Opera II, there is a character, the Phantom. Phantom of the Opera. Get it? Hilarious. Well, it is, in the narrative structure that Barth has created. He throws in the the elements for a joke, then, several paragraphs later, puts it all together. If you can catch it before he does, you win, if not, you get to giggle at his cleverness. The plot largely focuses on The Original Floating Opera II, with expositionary detours of what the Novelist Emeritus (Barth) is doing over the five years of the story, and then the Novelist Aspirant (Hopkins) gets a turn, introducing us to his love, Sherry, his parent

Wow!

As always, I'm blown away and inspired when I read Barth. If I can ever do anything half as well as he can write, I'll be a success! I was sad at the end to think that this might be his final offering (although you can spend a lifetime re-reading his work), but now that the collection 10 Nights and a Night is out I'm over the heartbreak. I think my next readerly Voyage will be back to The End of the Road and On With the Story (again)!

Still Barth, after all these years...

...which is all you need to know.The man has nearly half a century of literary history, all of it jam-packed with the most mind-bending experimental and metafictional gymnastics the literary community has ever had the delight to call its own.Consider that for a moment: half a century. That piece of knowledge in hand, you know right off you can disregard out of hand the one-star review of any reader calling this yet "another bloated and tiresome (Barth) book." If one is well read in the Barth canon, and has found it wanting, same one could easily have given Barth a pass thousands of pages ago. Barth has never pretended to be anything less than egomaniacal and pretentious. And for that, I thank him, for he stands out magnificently from the body of even the postmodern pantheon. Some people simply don't like, don't appreciate, or don't "get" Barth. It should take only one book to figure out if you're among them.Then, what of the book's own merits? I tell you this: this is by no means the place to begin your journey into Barth if you've not read him before. In fact, to read this anyplace among them but last (assuming you're made of stout engouh stuff to make it through them all) would be tragic. It's a 300 page, self-indulgent, metafictional going-away party. It's not merely writing about writing; it's writing about Barth's strange and fascinating literary journey. And what a journey it's been.Ere you pass the threshold, be prepared to accept the following: this book will be pretentious; it will be literary for literary's sake; it will drip with self-reference; it will be twisted, perverse, convoluted, and obscure. If you're familiar enough with Barth to have made it through Floating Opera, Sot-Weed, Giles, Funhouse, et al, and to have loved the whole mad lot, then you're certain to enjoy this bizarre farewell from the master manipulator. If you haven't, don't bother.

Brilliant

What an ingenious and engaging book this is, and what a brilliant writer. Mr. Barth has had many imitators in his long career and very few real peers. I loved this book and have urged it on my friends. I hope we have many more Barth novels to look forward to.

The Last Reviewer was a Douche!

I hate to do this, but I'm reviewing this book without having read all of it yet. Does this make me seem pretentious and rather smart-allecky? Yes. But I just had to write a response to the previous review. I wholeheartedly understand how someone who reads books merely for story's sake would not enjoy this book; there's not much of a story. But to read Barth's later works for simply this reason is wherein the fallacy lies. You see, Barth is the master (as far as I'm concerned) of literary gymnastics and narrative techniques. If you enjoy literature qua literature, then you'll like this. The first twenty pages alone (which the first reviewer claimed were boring) blew my mind for the sheer technique. Surely this book is not for everyone, it's actually for a very small number of people, but please don't criticize it for not being "standard" like, say, Larry McMurty.And if you just read a book for the storyline with no appreciation for the literary merits, why not just waste less time and go see a movie? (Oh yeah, I almost forgot how much you like to claim that reading is more rewarding than watching movies.)
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