The Floating Opera and The End of the Road are John Barth's first two novels. Both concern strange, consuming love triangles and the destructive effect of an overactive intellect on human emotions. Separately they give two very different views of a universal human drama.
©1997 John Barth (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Review #1 -- The Floating Opera (*****):
This seems like a novel destined to be made into a Coen brothers movie. Well, I guess a rather WASPy Coen brothers movie. IT is an absolute masterpiece of comedic nihilism. If sainthood, cynicism, and suicide aren't your gig -- you can always try nihilism -- or not.
Review # 2 -- The End of the World (****):
Consisting of two parts:
Part 1: Other titles considered by John Barth instead of 'The End of the Road'?
* Cuckolding an Existentialist
* The back//progress&advice//room abortion of absurdity
* Accidentally killed by too little love and too much dinner.
* Why Professors at small universities are bastards.
* My abortion with Sartre
* An existentialist triangle
* Thesis, antithesis, ergotrate.
* Misménage à trois
* Cornuto Matata
Part 2: [warning might contain spoilers if you are listening to this book fresh, with no previous experience with or knowledge of Barth's early, nihilist works] The reason I gave the performance only 2-stars was because the audiobook left out the LAST chapter of 'The End the Road.' Which, by-the-way, is kinda important because it is the END of the ROAD!!!. I know that abortion is a touchy subject, but leaving out the last chapter -- Chapter 12 -- leaves the book with the anticipation of an abortion, not the actual abortion. It is like doing Camus' the Stranger and leaving out the chapter that deals with killing the Arab. Kinda the whole point right?
Don't get me wrong, I am a great fan of John Barth. He is however sometimes difficult to stomach, especially when he's trying to impress us with is voluminous vocabulary and outlandish plot twists. These two stories are his early works and are far more easy to get through than the Sot Weed Factor or Chimera when his Post-Modern style goes into hyper drive. Kevin Pariseau's voice is a perfect fit for Barth's rye humor and cynicism.
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