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Hardcover Where Three Roads Meet : Novellas Book

ISBN: 0618610162

ISBN13: 9780618610167

Where Three Roads Meet : Novellas

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

From the acclaimed John Barth, "one of the greatest novelists of our time" (Washington Post Book World) and "a master of language" (Chicago Sun-Times), comes a lively triad of tales that delight in the many possibilities of language and its users. The first novella, "Tell Me," explores a callow undergraduate's initiation into the mysteries of sex, death, and the Heroic Cycle. The second novella, "I've Been Told," traces no less than the history of...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

The Return Of The Master

Few readers are indifferent to the works of John Barth. Most either love or hate them. For myself, I freely admit to being a Barth lover. The best of his books--"Chimera", "Giles Goat-Boy", "Lost In The Funhouse" and one or two others--are joys to read. True, he has let us down a bit lately, but in "Where 3 Roads Meet" the old master has come roaring back. I will not try to describe the plot. The Publishers Weekly review (above) has has done that very nicely. I will say that the book is a Barthean mixture of puns, word-play, down-to-earth bawdiness and scholarly erudition that never failed to entertain even as it delved into such serious matters as the heroic cycle and the mysteries of story creation. It isn't often that a serious literary work can also be good (sometimes not so clean) fun. But this book has pulled it off.

Barth surfaces with excellent mettle this time

John Barth inspires in me the classic kind of love-hate relationship. I have read every one of his books and berate him mercilessly when I think his efforts are misguided or redundant (_Sabbatical_, _Letters_, _The Book of Ten Nights and a Night_), but praise his best works and consider the best of his best among the annals that the future will look at when assessing the art of our present writing (_Chimera_, _The Sot-Weed Factor_, _The Tidewater Tales_, _Lost in the Funhouse_). He is on my suggested reading list for only the brightest of my students, and next to the writer whose name is an extension of his (Barthelme) will be known as one of those who not only changed the expectation of fiction, but extended our literary heritage in the best way, connecting us solidly to Homer and Twain while being truly contemporary. This book is a harking back to the spirited Barth, the Barth who last reared his godhead in _The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor_, but had to subsist a while on a few middling efforts (_Once Upon a Time_, _On With the Story_ and _Coming Soon!_) until this latest go. _Where Three Roads Meet_ is full of unapologetic bawd and classic pun-istry, but while his lukewarm efforts feel just that (style covering over an inadequate tale), this new book is back to digging into the art of storytelling and finding its latest incarnation, an incarnation that is fresh and new and reflecting on the impossibility of storytelling in the face of life. At first glance, this may seem to be an attempt to recapture the glory days of _Chimera_, as that stunning book too was of three novellas, but while also Greekmythed in nature, _Where Three Roads Meet_ poses more modern characters than the mythical heroes retold in the earlier National Book Award winner. We meet a jazz trio in post-WWII collegiate life, three aged ex-prostitutes-cum-Fates, and a setting as SamuelBeckettian as Sammy ever cared to reveal, with a Muse, his Author and a Reader puttering along in the jalopy of Storytelling. The links are more thematic than forced, but this book makes for a fine read and worthy of being put on the shelf among his better works.
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