Tuesday, August 18, 2009

175. G – John Berger

January 2009
History: Written in 1972, this book won the 1972 Booker Prize.
Plot: A story about a young man, whose mother was white, and father was Italian, during the turn of the century. And he becomes very rich, and very sexual, and goes about seducing this woman and that. It’s told in philospical language, cryptic writing that you have to reread, again and again.
Review: This dense, philosophical Booker Prize-winning novel of ideas took six years to write. G.'s lovers come and go suddenly, without conventional seductions followed by affairs ended by breakups. You get their couplings in fragmented, often very evocative and momentarily graphic depictions. But, without the aftermath, what accrues are episodes from G.'s love life, mixed with narrative reflection, historical and political mini-essays, and an account of the times from both a bourgeois and a proletarian perspective.
Opening Line: “The father of the protagonist of this book was called Umberto.”
Closing Line: “The horizon is the straight bottom edge of a curtain arbitrarily and suddenly lowered upon a performance.”
Quotes: “The process of maturing and, later, of ageing involves a gradual but increasing withdrawal of the self from the exterior surface of the body.”
Rating: Not good.

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