Download Audible The Unfortunates By B.S. Johnson –

BS Johson S Infamous Book In A Box Is, If Remembered At All, Notorious For Its Presentation Rather Than Its Content The Book Consists Of A First And Last Section Plus Other Chapters, Each One Coming As A Self Contained Pamphlet , That Can Be Read In Any Order The Reader Likes The Subject Matter Concerns A Journalist S Day Covering A Football Match In Nottingham, Remembering Previous Times Spent In The City With A Lover Now Gone And A Friend Now Dead The Innovative Format Permits Johnson To Echo The Random Thought Processes Of His Protagonist The Associations And Reminiscences Bubbling Up In No Fixed Order As He Walks Through The City, Watches And Reports On The Match And Returns Home Afterwards However, It Is The Quality Of The Writing And The Affecting, Deeply Personal Narrative That Should Be Stressed, And Is So Often Forgotten, When Discussing Johnson S Most Moving Work Jonathan Coe S Informative Introduction Explains The Origins Of This Semi Autobiographical Work And Situates It As A Forerunner To Hugely Successful Books By The Likes Of Ruth Picardie And John Diamond Certainly This Conveys What An Emotionally Engaged Book The Unfortunates Is, And Is A Useful Rejoinder To The Barely Veiled Negativism Of The Charge Of Being Avant Garde, But It Doesn T Place Johnson Alongside The Peers With Whom He Should Be Judged Johnson Is A Writer In The League Of Beckett And William S Burroughs, An Experimentalist But One Whose Humanity, And Sheer Skill, Shine Through The Unfortunates, The Book He Wrote As A Response To His Friend Tony Tillinghast S Death, On The Back Of A Promise To Him To Get It All Down, Mate, Is A Wonderfully Honest Book About Friendship And Loss That It Comes In A Box Should Not Blind Us To The Fact That As A Writer Johnson Was Peerless And As A Novel This Is Truly First Rate Mark Thwaite

10 thoughts on “The Unfortunates

  1. says:

    How can I place his order, his disintegration Through fragments of a randomized collection of memories called up while wandering through a city, the reader explores the life, loves and losses of the narrator As such a premise would remind many of Ulysses and Joyce s incredible use of the stream of consciousness, B.S Johnson 1933 1973 manages to create something unique and inventive with The Unfortunates His story is separated into 27 packets which are intended to be read at random aside from the First and Last chapter, and allows for a creative artificial impression for the act of memory and thought The random approach, which may initially be dismissed as cutesy and gimmicky, manages to go deeper and beyond the gimmick and explore the implied meanings we place upon order In the Hungarian translation of the book, which was published as a regularly bound novel, Johnson included a special introduction urging the reader to still experience the chapters at random, stressing that perhaps the pointof the novel in it s original format the tangible metaphor for the way the mind works By randomly selecting the order, each reader is given an opportunity for a personal experience of the novel The form itself is a larger explanation of form In the context of the story, we experience his memories out of chronological order, much like how we experience our own sets of memories In the context of the form, it examines how order affects our understanding and meaning In my own personal reading, Johnson, the narrator is a potentially fictional version of the actual author, spent much of the present eating and referring to vague moments of him and his desceased friend Tony eating in the city It wasn t until the penultimate packet that I actually experienced the fleshed out memory This gives an impression that this memory was somehow of extreme importance to Johnson, and was possibly suppressed in his mind until he could properly deal with it at the end It is a statement on the way I have been conditioned to approach novels I noticed that the final few packets had a subtle sense of greater intensity as I typically expect the final sections of a novel to be where themes tie together and where the climax of plot should be Had the luck of the draw given an entire different plot point near the end, the food scene would likely have seemed less crucial and the different point would have been garnished with this implied intensity While this is a short book, much of the information is rather repetitive, which allows it to not only to seem to fit together well regardless of order, but positions the reader to different vantage points on memories Depending on which view of an event the reader experiences first Johnson, when in one memory, will refer to events in later or earlier memories and then have another packet pertaining directly to the memory, provides a subtly different meaning to the narrative Sometimes you have forshadowing, sometimes just a simple revisit of an earlier idea Anything means something if you impose meaning on it, which in itself is a meaningless thing, the imposition, writes Johnson He draws are attentions through the form to our impressions and imposed meanings, but also dismisses them all as meaningless Perhaps our explanations on the form don t matter at all, and the random order serves as an elaborate distraction when all he really wants to get across is the workings of the mind How the mind arranges itself, tries to sort things into order, is perturbed if things are not worted, he muses as he sorts threw the mental shoebox of strewn about memories There is plenty of evidence to support that this is the real impression he wants to get across, as the style of writing is rambling with extensive use of commas, breaks to represent a drifting mind, and a constant second guessing and correcting that reminded me of the narrator in Wittgenstein s Mistress I fail to remember, the mind has fuses Rest assured, there is content to the book beyond the form and style, although the story is admittedly secondary While that is the initial draw, be it gimmick or no, there is substance to be had from the story This is a rather tragic book, exploring the themes of death, frailty and futility The death of Tony is the major set of memories Johnson wrestles with, yet in digging up the past for Tony, a whole slew of other painful, and sometimes pleasant, memories are pulled to the surface The death of Tony and the death of Johnson s relationship with his college flame, Wendy, are eternally forged together in the imprints of his memory While they occurred at the same time, it is the betrayal of life for Tony, and the betrayal of Wendy while he constantly references the betrayal , he never clarifies if she actually slept around on him or if it was something else that keep them inseparable It seems these deaths helped to solidify his use of food as an escape as well, Tony s life being eaten out of him by the world and cancer is countered by Johnson taking in life from the world though food The frustrations felt, the sheer futility to stop the cancer left Johnson second guess his life from then on out The sportswriter scene depicts Johnson constantly questioning his choices of words and his own worth as a sportswriter, displaying his feeling of futility to actually be a good, authentic writer He has watched his closest friend disintegrate, his relationships disintegrate, and now he notices all around him peeling paint, chipped banisters, and other aspects of crumbling architecture.While this is a novel about the death of a friend, since Johnson puts the reader into his mind it is really a novel about Johnson We learn about him than we ever do Tony, and we are only able to know his own impressions on the events In the introduction, Johnathan Coe observes that the majority of interaction with Tony shows them discussing Johnson, his book, his problems with Wendy, etc Perhaps this is the strongest argument that the book is really about our implied impressions, unique to each reader, as the book is the unique impressions of events as seen by one person The difficulty is to understand without generalization, to see each piece of received truth, or generalization, as true only if it is true for me, solipsism again, I come back to it again, and for no other reason In general, generalization is to lie, to tell lies The standard novel is perceived as a generalization of themes, symbols and ideas that all readers can light upon, but this novel insists on doing away with generalizations and entering into a solipsistic viewpoint on life around us, to fully appreciate what one individual feels, to be alone in a sea of perspectives His anger towards Christianity in the book, seeing turning to God only in the final hours as a cop out, is an expression of generalization it is submitting to a general idea of existence and general set of goals, ideals and morals He feels you should face death in your own narrow viewpoints, goals, ideals and morals The terrifying thing is that no matter how we view life though, we still are all barreling towards death and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, ours and theirs It is difficult to think of these things without terror, the pity is easy to feel, easy to contain, but so useless.As this is often considered a work of post modernism, my opinions and imposed meanings are essentially meaningless Besides, don t take my word for it take Mike s word in his review though , the idea is to form your own perspectives and meanings since that is how we experience life Well, a decent metaphor for it at least If all this is meaningless, and this book is nothing but gimmick, it is still worth investigating Picking packets and random was a fun experience, and the box makes a nice addition to any bookshelf, as well as a great place to store your packets, notes, pens and stash your bookmarks While the book is rather repetitive, it is still a good, quick read, and the structure is exciting What I enjoyed most of all was how he placed you in his lecture halls and all over campus through his memories, places I really love to be It brought back my own memories of sweating through exams, tragically failed college romances, late night debates and laughter amongst classmates over booze or coffee It is impressive as well that this book came out in 1967, yet still hasn t received much attention despite publishers like McSweeny that clamor to deliver quirky structures such as this book That really gives further meaning to Johnson s discussion of old solutions to modern problems So open up Johnson s box.3.75 5

  2. says:

    4.5 stars rounded up.Here it was he talked about the RAF So 10 space gap So must others, for ever, or talk about something like it, and it does not matter to them, now, it cannot have mattered at any time to me, so why this, if it is so meaningless, anything means something only if you impose meaning on it, which in itself is a meaningless thing, the imposition why do reasons matter Sometimes I think I shall become a Surrealist.

    Another day, another review, hopefully one which will encourage the reading of The Unfortunates, even though I m likely to discourage as many as are prodded on As is frequently the case with the books I ve been reading, this isn t one for everyone it could be, but it won t be, as it should be, yes, no, maybe, perhaps.

    The narrator, one B.S Johnson, travels to a city to cover a soccer match for a newspaper, and the travel, the pre match wandering through the city, the sights, all conspire to remind the narrator of an old friend, now deceased, who had been a good friend and trusted ally in the narrator s budding career as a writer Rather a bland premise, but that story isn t the story The story is the randomness of recollection, the bits and pieces, remembered in detail or remembered in part Embellished Romanticized Contrived Non linear Scatter shot Cumulative while disintegrating Exactly the way Memory works, the memories that matter.

    Johnson the author employs a style that some may find tortuous Polysyndetons without the conjuctions, memory upon memory Heavily punctuated demanding the reader slow down, slow down Gaps in the text suggesting the narrator s mind has wandered off, on to something else Disclaimers undermine and reinforce

    So, about that book in a box WTF is that Is it a gimmick Of course Is it a useful gimmick Decidedly Does it add, embellish, contribute, reinforce So many questions The answer, I believe is it does add It reinforces the idea of the randomness of memory It reinforces the idea that no two readers ever read the same book.

    If you re lucky enough to have a copy at hand, take a moment Prop up the front cover from behind so that the box stands open Consider the topmost surface covered in a muted, off white color of satin with a small pillow resting on it A casket The contents of which holding the objects of Memory The contents to which most Memories are headed A clich , yes No.

    The joy of this book isn t in the story The joy of this book is in the reading.

    Have a grand day.

  3. says:

    Twenty minutes ago, I had this review in the bag I had taken thorough notes, had arranged them by topic, and had even highlighted passages to quote And then B S Johnson, the author of The Unfortunates, dropped this bomb on me in the second to last paragraph The difficulty is to understand without generalization, to see each piece of received truth, or generalization, as true only if it is true for me, solipsism again, I come back to it again, and for no other reason In general, generalization is to lie, to tell lies That really puts a cramp in any attempt at review, since to review is to generalize, don t you think And, hey, isn t Johnson generalizing by saying that generalizations are lies So, give me a second Let me take a few sips of my tea, look over my notes one time, and take a deep breath Allow me a minute to gather my thoughts and come back to this experimental and provocative text, because my head is beginning to hurt in that way it does after reading post modernism Firstly, there is not enough room on this coffee shop table for the book, my computer, my notes, and the five highlighters it took to organize my thoughts into a rainbowed outline The act of reading this book is incredibly tactile You hold the individual chapters in your hand to read, people passing stare at the thin pamphlets, the man next to me looks up every time I put one section to the left and pick up the next on the right It s an attention grabber with its box cover, its 1 12 page sections, and its gift like presentation I opened it for the first time and felt the need to take pictures of it like I did ten years ago when I got my first iPod This book is beautiful It consists of twenty seven chapters that are separately bound The first and last are marked and in place at the top and bottom of the pile of chapters, but the remaining twenty five arrive in random order In his note to the reader, Johnson encourages him to choose read the chapters in the order in which they arrive or rearrange them before beginning When I began reading I was sitting across from The Canadian in a bookstore She was struggling with formatting her novel, and I was struggling with a novel that defied formatting How do you think I should read it I asked What She looked up She looked frantic and frustrated The sections Do you think I should read them as they came to me, or do you think I should mix them up Oh She rested her chin in her hand and seemed for the first time in hours to be distracted from her task I would read it in the order I received it Why Because I would like to think that I received the book in the order I was supposed to read it This is why I love her.In the first chapter Johnson arrives in Nottingham to report on a football game He thinks he is traveling to a town that he has never been to before but, setting food on solid ground, is aware that he has spent a good deal of time in this town In fact, he spent most of that time with his friend and colleague, Tony, who died some time ago from cancer And so begin the twenty five randomly arranged chapters that alternate between the present and the past, between Johnson s day in Nottingham and his memories of Tony I should mention here that the novel is entirely autobiographical Johnson was very vocal in his belief that fiction should be true Any novel that wasn t absolutely true, in his opinion, was a lie, and truth could not be conveyed with lies How can you convey truth in a vehicle of fiction he asked The two terms, truth and fiction, are opposites, and it must logically be impossible Of course many if not most literary critics and creatives would disagree and argue that truth is too subtle to be achieved through the use of literal language and historical details I think Tim O Brien said it best A thing may happen and be a total lie another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth In the end, Johnson s insistence on absolute truth proved to be too restrictive Johnson s theory, in effect a breathtaking insistence that all literature should reduce itself to the status of glorified memoir, eventually proved too much of a straightjacket by the time of his last, posthumously published novel, See The Old Lady Decently, he was reaching further and further back into his family history, and the result has an air of strain and imprecision, weariness even from the introduction by Jonathan Coe In the end I appreciated the order in which I received the book Somewhat divinely, my arrangement of chapters ended with the final exchange between Tony and Johnson the last thing I said to him, all I had to give him, alone with him, with my coat on, about to go, the car waiting outside to run us to the station, staring down at him, facing those eyes, he staring back all the time now, it must have been a great effort for him, yes, and I said, it was all I had, what else could I do, I said, I ll get it all down, mate It ll be very little, he said, after a while, slowly, still those eyes That s all anyone has done, very little, I said So how does one review a book that makes the argument that it is the sole truth of its author and therefore cannot be questioned, criticized, or challenged Should I play into Johnson s philosophy or push against it If you ll allow me, I think I ll do both.The book, while literally about death, loss, and creativity, concerns itself predominantly with the accidental and persistent nature of memory If the writing style suggests it the run on sentences, the spaces on the page where the speaker s thought process is interrupted, and the lines that end mid sentence , then the form enforces it You can t help but read it randomly, the memories coming without provocation, occurring as arbitrarily as the order in which you receive the book I should be honest I had ulterior motives for this review after having read very little of the book I wanted this review to be a discussion about truth and memory selfishly they re my favorite literary themes aside, of course, from sex I wanted this review to hotly contest Johnson s perception of memory with a slew of quotes from van der Kolk and Freud I wanted this review to be a literary smack down After taking a class on narratives derived from traumatic memory, I felt my chest puff out and my know it all ness preparing to reject Johnson s version of how memory is experienced After having only read the introduction, I found myself shouting angrily at the text, But memory isn t random It is triggered by something in the present, a smell, a taste, a lost memento rediscovered in the attic Like Proust considering a tea soaked madeleine, memory occurs when something in the present triggers something in the past It is not random It is not accidental.But then I remembered something I remembered the night last summer that I spent with The Poet and the fragmented words I wrote the morning after I drove back to Bread Loaf after leaving him on the side of Route 7 and sat in my twin bed trying desperately to get everything down that I could remember Maybe, I thought, if I could remember everything from the night before, I could make sense of what had happened I would know why he kissed me in the middle of the lake, and why he fed me bites of his breakfast sandwich, and why exactly he had begun to pull away on the couch as we listened to the sound of Lake Champlain moving like a tongue against the rocks Isn t this what we feel, fundamentally, when we write We write to make sense of the world We use the imprecise art of words to describe what cannot otherwise be described What I wrote in my bed that day was entirely accidental The memories came to me randomly They repeated themselves They were out of order Remembering the silence that fell over us at the register while we paid for our lunch a sandwich that we split was interrupted by remembering how he had sat facing me on the bed in the morning and rubbed his big toe against mine as if to comfort me with as little contact as possible In that moment of remembering my own remembering, my pretense dropped My know it all ness turned to the humble concession that what has been written and theorized about memory is not necessarily true for everyone Maybe most memory is triggered by the present, but in the horrible aftermath of his friend s death, Johnson strove to memorialize his friend and to convey the process of his own remembering The danger of generalization that Johnson warns against in his last lines then is that it leaves no room for the unique bordering on solipsistic and enigmatic qualities of human experience Just now something wonderful happened As I was holding the chapters loosely in my hand, trying to leaf through the pages to find the last line of a section I loved, the entire text fell onto the floor The first chapter slid across the granite tile Four others flipped upside down A thin chunk of chapters stayed together, but the rest turned backwards and spun out of the order in which I had read them As I bent down to gather them up I realized that the book, both palpably and intellectually, resists analysis This difficulty in criticizing a work that is actively negating and deflecting criticism, it seems, is exactly what Johnson wanted.

  4. says:

    Although the edition I got from the library came bound in a single volume, I was able to cleverly skip around the chapters as intended, which did increase the fun quotient, if not making much difference in how one experiences the work Aside from just the avant garde nature of his novels, I really enjoy Johnson s use of language, and this makes me want to investigate those of his works I haven t yet read.

  5. says:

    Yesterday I had a privilege few have I had this book read to me, all around Nottingham, as close to the venues described in the book as possible 27 people in character as Bryan were reading different chapters in different places The feeling of having to track them down following a map and go inside pubs, cafes, the City Council, Broadway cinema, a private house, a parked car, a hotel, etc., they all added to the story making this an incredible experience Thank you to Excavate and their community theatre group for their amazing effort and for proving that storytelling is for adults as well.

  6. says:

    Autobiogr fica y experimental, Los desafortunados tiene una estructura imposible sin orden ni f sico ni literal que hace que apenas pueda ser considerada como novela Johnson consigue de este modo hacer llegar sus sentimientos al lector de la forma m s honesta y pura que es posible recordar en toda la historia de la literatura Rese a completa

  7. says:

    I m a sucker for gimmicky books, so when I saw this book in a box no one had to twist my arm to get me to purchase it, and I m glad I did Unlike some of the other gimmicky books I ve read House of Leaves, The Raw Shark Texts , you don t get the impression that B.S Johnson was patting himself on the back for being clever as he wrote this If the introduction is to be believed, he actually probably was patting himself on the back as he wrote it, but you wouldn t know it to read it The chapters of the book are unbound, and meant to be shuffled and with the exception of the first and last chapters read in a random order, in an attempt to translate the non linear nature of memories into a written format It sounds gimmicky, and it is, but it s a gimmick that works really well, especially given the stream of conciousness writing style and the nature of the story, which is a collection of B.S Johnson s memories of a friend of his who had died of cancer Not a terribly uplifting subject, obviously, but it s handled with aplomb it s sad, but not in a maudlin fashion This is easily one of the best books I ve read this year, second only to If on a winter s night a traveller.

  8. says:

    Okay this was a book I should have read a long time ago, and I finally read the content is 4 stars the structure is 3 stars lets talk form first I respect the avant garde thing of splitting up the book However, content wise the book has two pieces memory and present The memories are these cool intermixed first fianc e wife and his friend dying and the association of the two, also memories of his first 2 novels In comparison with present day Ginnie, being a reporter and his son this all works really well, except that the form messes up the present day content that has an obvious order The memories are great mixed up, however the present memories need to be structured My solution make a book that is in order and memories that are then inserted into the book.

  9. says:

    Publicado en desafortunados de B.S Johnson Fragilidad de la memoria, desintegraci n de la personaDice Jonathan Coe en la imprescindible introducci n a Los desafortunados a mediados de los cincuenta, ya estudiante maduro, lleg al King s College de Londres Fue all , durante una zambullida, por lo dem s rutinaria, en el canon occidental, donde descubri las obras de Sterne, Joyce y Beckett, a quienes adopt enseguida como h roes y mentores A partir de entonces tendr a lealtades inamovibles desde su punto de vista, la tarea principal de la novela era interrogarse a s misma, llamar la atenci n sobre sus artificios el escritor que la considerase mero veh culo para contar historiales lineales se estaba enga ando Johnson insist a en que Joyce hab a clausurado la poca de la novela dickensiana, directa Por muy buenos que sean los escritores que lo intenten escribi poco antes de morir , hoy es imposible que esa novela funcione, y escribirla es anacr nico, inv lido, irrelevante y perverso Esa sentencia final condensa a la perfecci n la personalidad de B S Johnson, un escritor que sufri especialmente su necesidad de innovar lo establecido, de experimentar m s all de los lugares comunes quiz Los desafortunados se trate del mejor ejemplo de esta b squeda constante de la ruptura Pero Los desafortunados es otra cosa En este libro, los dos compromisos fundamentales innovaci n formal y verdad rigurosa se al an en una obra literaria extra a, poderosa y cautivadora DesafortunadosEn efecto, los veintisiete pliegos en una caja componen una de esos momentos inolvidables, una experiencia diferente, ya que solo hay un orden establecido, el del primer pliego y el del ltimo, Coe lo explica a la perfecci n y ahonda en las consecuencias de esta elecci n Pero cualquiera que sea el recipiente que use el lector para echar suertes, acabar con un orden azaroso propio correspondiente a las veinticinco partes del libro entre la Primera y la ltima Luego tras un adecuado par ntesis para reponerse si uno est exhausto ha de leer la Primera parte luego remitirse a los s mbolos para identificar la parte siguiente y leerla Y as sucesivamente, hasta haber identificado y le do la parte vig simo quinta, tras lo cual el lector podr suspirar de alivio y leer la ltima parte.Desde luego que este procedimiento entra a cierta cantidad de trabajo clerical y administrativo por parte del lector Pero no es una cantidad excesiva, a buen seguro, y por otra parte el lector perezoso puede proceder de modo normal, aceptando el orden del encuadernador Que prefiera no divertirse del modo aqu propuesto es, claro est , inalienable derecho suyo pero en tal caso se perder una experiencia nada ordinaria si es que tiene precedentes y quiz el meollo del asunto Lo que tambi n es su derecho inalienable.Lo que inevitablemente escapar a los lectores h ngaros es la sensaci n f sica de fragilidad y desintegraci n que transmite la novela en el formato original la met fora tangible de la manera fortuita en que, como he dicho, funciona la mente.Desintegraci n y fragilidad estos son los temas de Los desafortunados, y el tono es de una melancol a agitada e interrogadora La prosa de Johnson tanto aqu como en su novela previa, Trawl Palangre debe mucho a la de Beckett, en particular al Beckett de El innombrable esas largas frases como bucles, s lo puntuadas con comas, que apilan un per odo sobre otro, una precisi n sobre otra, pero transportan al lector mediante un impulso emotivo que, en el caso de Johnson, proviene de la intensidad de la pena recordada desafortunados2Johnson entendi que esta innovaci n formal reflejaba a la perfecci n el orden de nuestro pensamiento muy lejos de esa linealidad que solemos pedir a pel culas o libros, este desorden mental nos transmite una fragilidad, la sensaci n de que todo no se sucede como esperamos, ni se piensa como es l gico y est fragilidad lleva inevitablemente a una desintegraci n de la identidad de la persona, sobre todo cuando, como es el caso, el tema tratado lleva a esta fragilidad el recuerdo del amigo muerto de c ncer y desencadenado por visitar la ciudad en la que viv a.Posiblemente, mucha gente venga a este libro por las razones equivocadas la envoltura impecable por otra parte gracias a la dura labor de Rayo Verde y que hay que felicitar efusivamente sin embargo la verdadera fuerza es la perfecta conjunci n del artificio formal, novedoso yo mismo cambi el orden de los pliegos antes de empezar con la fuerza cautivadora que subyace en la prosa de Johnson un verdadero deleite que juega con la forma, seca, de frases largas, separadas por comas, muy beckettiana y con el fondo mediante continuos niveles de significaci n que permiten muchas interpretaciones y sentidos desde su primer pliego Mis visitas aqu eran largas conversaciones s lo en parte interrumpidas para comer, qu generalizaci n, vaya, l hablaba m s que yo, mucho m s, pero yo aprend a, seleccionaba y eleg a o r lo que necesitaba, lo que m s me sirviera, m s me sirviera entonces, de sus discursos, s , no es pomposa la palabra, discurso, una mente magn fica, la encarnaci n de una necesidad de comunicar, tambi n, c mo situar el orden de esa mente, su desintegraci n En el que la desintegraci n ya aparece nombrada y se convierte en uno de los letimotivs dominantes, a partir de ah mi experiencia me ha llevado a estos textos a estos momentos ntimos en los que el brit nico es capaz de describir desde la variaci n de las pausas el progresivo deterioro por la enfermedad nada hay com n en lo que cuenta, y no le importa opinar sobre la inutilidad de la compasi n Por primera vez parec a realmente enfermo, hab a s ntomas exteriores, f sicos, se le ve a diferente, no era l, estaba peor La cara parec a seca, la piel como empolvada al descuido, en ciertas partes, de repente ten a menos pelo, hab a grandes copos de caspa de un gris amarillento y se le notaban un poco m s los dientes, porque hab a perdido peso, seis kilos o m s La respiraci n, tambi n, le hab a cambiado, hablaba haciendo grandes pausas, para suspirar hasta el l mite de los pulmones, pausas antinaturales, asint cticas, que daban a las palabras nfasis y dramatismos extra os, un patetismo trivial, adem s de esas otras pausas para sorber un trago y humedecerse la boca, para ejercer manualmente la funci n de las gl ndulas salivales.Es dif cil pensar en estas cosas sin terror, la compasi n es f cil de sentir, f cil de contener, pero tan in til collage 1024x724De hecho utiliza los lugares comunes para subvertirlos, como la t pica incomprensi n ante la muerte, sobre todo cuando todo va sobre ruedas menos entendible que cuando todo est torcido para contraponerla ante la palabra podredumbre , que se convierte en la condensaci n del dolor constante Cuando todo le iba sobre ruedas, cuando acababa de lograr lo que siempre hab a querido, eso creo yo, la podredumbre, todo un proceso de podredumbre concentrado en dos a os, menos de dos a os, para qu , caray, con qu fin En este fest n literario me asombra especialmente su tratamiento del recuerdo, especialmente su poca fiabilidad, tendemos a transformar lo que hemos vivido seg n las experiencias de un pasado que, posiblemente, ni siquiera hemos compartido ese af n de intentar dotal de una santidad inviolable y sagrada a las personas que ya no est n con nosotros Por lo menos una vez fue a visitarnos a Angel, entonces ya est bamos casados, se hab a consolidado el matrimonio, muy feliz, lo que Tony llamaba la saga de mis mujeres hab a terminado muy bien, para m , se alegraba por nosotros, nos trajo con retraso el regalo de boda, una batidora, una batidora de mano, buena, dijo, ellos ten an una igual, y era buena, s , aunque no la usamos hasta que se estrope la el ctrica, pero para ciertos usos, en cierto modo, era mejor que la el ctrica, es verdad, m s pr ctica, c mo me esfuerzo por investir todo lo que proviniera de l de la mayor rectitud, la mayor santidad, casi, posible, c mo su muerte influye en cada recuerdo m o que tenga relaci n con l El pasado, los recuerdos la nostalgia de la que hablaba Julian Barnes en The sense of an ending atentan contra nuestra percepci n de la realidad tergiversan nuestra propia vida, acometen la desintegraci n que nos introduc a en el primer pliego, el recuerdo se convierte en un conductor de la sensibler a, nos llevan a ella en nuestro af n de convertir una mala experiencia en algo m s rom ntico y sostenible, algo m s entendible Otra vez esta sensibler a, el pasado siempre propicia la sensibler a, es inevitable, todo lo que es suyo lo veo a la luz de lo que ocurri despu s, su lenta desintegraci n, su muerte Las olas del pasado demuelen las defensas de mi arenosa cordura, la pintura tiene que resguardarlo, aquietarlo, volverlo rom ntico, bonito Fabuloso es el siguiente p rrafo en el que, aprovecha el recuerdo de la degeneraci n de la enfermedad de su amigo para cambiar el narrador, cambiar de la primera persona de un narrador poco fiable a una segunda persona que nos acerca al momento, que nos da, de una manera audaz un momento para la ternura Apenas en unas semanas, desde la ltima vez que lo hab amos visto, hab a cambiado brutalmente, era desolador, ten a el rostro consumido, hab a perdido blandura, rotundidad, vida, la piel hab a cobrado tal tensi n que impresionaba, s , reconocerlo, ahora, compararlo con el de antes Con la delgadez los rasgos destacaban, cuando antes no se hab an notado, los ojos protuberantes, imp vidos, te miraban fijo, me deslizo en la segunda persona, un acto reflejo por defensa, se clavaban en ti m s tiempo del que hubieras querido, del que quer as, s En los t rminos que nos propone el autor nada es sencillo, podemos hablar del sentido de la muerte Lo que s sentimos, sin embargo es el dolor Puede tener sentido una muerte O ser absurda Es posible hablar de la muerte en estos t rminos No lo s , s lo siento el dolor, el dolor El ltimo pliego es un prodigio que nos lleva de la mano como verdaderos part cipes narrativos del dolor del protagonista somos conscientes de la mentira de la generalizaci n que tiende a hacer ley de nuestros sentimientos solipsistas Lo dif cil es entender sin generalizar, ver cada pedazo de verdad recibida, o generalizaci n, como verdadera s lo si es verdadera para m , otra vez el solipsismo, vuelvo a ello otra vez, y sin ning n motivo En general, generalizar es mentir, contar mentiras Lo nico que importa es, en palabras de Johnson, lo que significa para mi vida esa muerte, el nosotros final, nos une al autor en su dolor, un viaje inolvidable, desgarrador, conmovedor en su aparente frialdad dolor unido a belleza vida, ni m s ni menos Ni c mo muri , ni de qu muri , ni mucho menos por qu muri tiene inter s alguno, para m , s lo el hecho de que muri , que est muerto, es importante la p rdida para m , para nosotros Los textos provienen de la traducci n de Marcelo Cohen de Los desafortunados de B.S Johnson para la editorial Rayo Verde.

  10. says:

    211212 first impression this in an interesting structure devised to express the time of mourning a friend, a woman, a past, and in its deliberate renditions of vignettes of memories, in its conversational narration, certainly captures evocative recall but, unfortunately, this is a work that leads me to think than leads me to feelon reflection to think is not a bad thing, in fact, i like to think perhaps i will reflect and thus increase my rating, however this is a big perhaps i may read another of his works or lit crit on this one, but much as i like experimental writing, i am not as immediately engaged as when i first read In the Labyrinth by Alain Robbe Grillet, however, i am not as immediately repelled as with Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable A Trilogy by Samuel Becketti think of other experimental works, such as The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, which makes much of brief meditation, or the short work by Alice Munro, such as any of her Selected Stories, which makes novelistic complexity and dense multiplicity in so very few words this seems almost in reverse making a novel into a short story for there is deliberately no topography, maze, pattern of any sort, unless it in the designed randomness of the twenty five chapters after first and before lasti think is this story truly independent of some narrative direction is this randomness than gimmick and showing something we readers could not discover in any other form i think of work like The Celebration by Ivan Angelo, where the story must be created by the reader out of a mass of documents, or anything by Jos Saramago, such as The Elephant s Journey, where you the reader are called upon to punctuate and in this simple responsibility find yourself collaborating on the worki think does this form simply alienate the reader bore her frustrate her or through this banal plot argue for the reality that we readers as we persons in ordinary life, only discover or manifest or invent meaning of any banal plot after the fact that things happen and who knows where they lead, only sensed as important or revelatory through memory that indeed life makes sense backwards but we must live it forwards i think if i read it again after the shuffling will i find a new story or meaning or have i got the idea and is once enough is this proof that we can never create truly abstract or conceptual literature because there is only the medium of words so the writing is always already the concept i think do i have a naive or instrumental idea of fiction in my case, perhaps unfortunately, only prose believing that before anything else it should be a pleasure and not a chore to read and or i just have not read the right books argue with this idea, i will listen, but my own pleasure always already comes firsti think yes this book in a box certainly raises many questions, but in this case questions that are a pleasure to contemplate to fully appreciate this novel is to recalibrate what usual readers value in lit this is prestige literature this is not plot, not setting, not theme or characters, independent of how it is told, the ceaseless conversation within the narrator s head, the monologue that is not edited or organized, that has perhaps found its correct form in randomnessperhaps.i think if this is only any such novel in first person thought, i much prefer How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman