August 9th, 2014


The End of the Road, by John Barth

The End of the Road is Barth's second novel. Despite the superlative blurbs, I was disappointed. This is not Barth the story-teller, the mythologist -- this is early Barth, and.... I guess I like later Barth. The antiprotagonist is something of a Zelig-like creature, who is unfortunate enough to run into (and emulate) a ramrod libertarian chauvinist sui generis colleague, and his half-brainwashed wife. Adultery ensues, recriminations, etc. Because of his Zelig-ness, there's not much there there, and so the main character is both a cipher and unpalatable. It was kismet(?) that I read this after Banks' Complicity, because they are both depressing antihuman works (and yet with biting wit here and there).

Curiously, I see that there was actually a film adaptation that presented the film debuts of Stacy Keach and James Earl Jones. "It was rated X, in part because of a (SPOILERS!) graphic abortion scene."

So.... read Tidewater Tales of 'Somebody the Sailor'. Can't go wrong with Barth's 1001 Nights' fueled stuff.