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Король (Мастера современной прозы)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  533 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Во мне так и не развился вкус к бомбежкам мирного населения, - сказал король. - Выглядит нарушением общественного договора. Мы обязаны вести войну, а народ - за нее расплачиваться.
Советский Союз и Америка еще не вступили во Вторую мировую войну, поэтому защищать Европу от фашистских орд выпало на долю короля Артура и рыцарей Круглого Стола. Гвиневера изменяет супругу с Лан
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published 2004 by EKSMO Publishers (first published 1990)
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Review #1 of "Year of the Review All Read Books"

And I Heard A Voice

The novel/la's aesthetic is the use of dialogue and voice. Most of the story is presented in pure dialogue, we hear the voices of the radio chattering away like a modern day cable news network, the characters in turn discuss the merits and consequences of the radio voices.

There is a kind of chorus featured in the book. Or perhaps it is an audience, if there be any difference. They occasionally narrate for us when certain soldier
Jul 09, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is sorta a slam dunk for me. World War II + Donald Bartheleme + King Arthur = WIN in my book. It's witty, it's honest, it's a little sad. Surprisingly good character development for such a short book. And all the great meta fictional references just make my little postmodern heart go all a-flutter.

Am I the only one who felt that the "Chorus" was a little reminiscent of the play-by-play announcers at a sporting event? I wouldn't put it past Bartheleme. Hey, this is the same guy who ende
I don’t think I really get this book. I appreciate the wit and knowledge behind it, and the premise had me terribly excited - King Arthur fighting for England during the Blitz. The jacket flap says: ‘Dunkirk has fallen, the Americans have not yet entered the war, and King Arthur and his worshipful Knights of the Table Round are hip-deep in the fighting.’

They aren’t, though; they don’t seem to be fighting for Britain, they just do a lot of bashing each other. There doesn’t seem to be any communic
Feb 10, 2008 Melanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore barthelmians and those of us who tire of life during wartime
Shelves: 2008
I love Donald Barthelme, but this novella didn't captivate me the way his writing usually does. The premise (King Arthur fights World War II) is certainly great and Barthelmian, and there were chuckle-out-loud moments aplenty (particularly those that involved multiple characters falling into a swoon simultaneously--it's so rare to read a good swoon scene these days!), but I wasn't wholly grabbed by it.

Still, the dialogue is very sharp and often wisely absurd, so that's fun to read. Speaking of
Apr 20, 2015 Mat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-again, satire
Ever see Monty Python's "The Holy Grail"? Well, this is similar to that, but blacker, quirkier, more elegant, more ironic and just downright funnier.

This is a retelling of Le Morte D'Arthur by Malory but set in modern times and the holy grail is a nuclear bomb that both the Nazis and allies are trying to get hold of.

The characters in this story are great - a individualistic and slightly slutty Guinevere, a war-weary Arthur, an ever noble Launcelot, a well-spoken African knight called Roger, Ly
Oct 27, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynics, idealists, literary critics
Shelves: arthurian
This odd and allegorical tale of WWII fought by the knights of the Round Table reads more like a play than a novel -- characters stride on stage and declaim, disappear and reappear. There's even a chorus, presumably of the populace. Barthelme is intelligent and his prose is highly intellectualized, in a manner which renders it interesting but alienating.
Feb 11, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not Barthelme's best, but full of great moments. The illustrations by Barry Moser in this edition completely failed to capture or complement the tone and feel of the book. It would be best to read another edition, one without illustrations.
Charlie Whitney
I bought this at a used bookstore that had this small piece of description written on a notecard as a recommendation.

"Bizarre, frustrating, + funny. From a master of 'post-modernism.' Whatever, it's great."

A pretty apt summary. I definitely found myself frustrated at times, but there are many moments of greatness. More than maybe any other book I've read however, I found these moments to be why I kept reading. Overall as a work, I had trouble getting into it, but these punctuated moments had me
Toni Cifuentes
Bueno, menudo libro más curioso, una obra de teatro en realidad, o el minimalismo literario llevado al extremo. Abundancia de diálogos, muy bien trabajados, con momentos muy destacables, algunas situaciones cómicas y todo eso. El mundo del rey Arturo y su Tabla Redonda traído a los tiempos modernos en ese contexto bélico de la segunda guerra mundial. Pinceladas críticas muy agudas. Un libro que, a pesar de todo, me ha costado mucho terminar. Una especie de experimento literario de Barthelme con ...more
May 09, 2015 Mahmood666 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
دونالد بارتلمی
مزدک بلوری
نشر نی /
دونالد بارتلمی از مهمترین نویسندگان پست مدرن امریکاست و داستانهای کوتاهش از بهترین نمونه های این رده ادبی محسوب میشود .هرچند بارتلمی به علت نثر به شدت پیچیده اش (که بسیاری به ان برچسب روشنفکرانه می زنند)و همچنین محتوای نه چندان روشن و ملموس اثارش که سوریالیسمی سرخوشانه را در بر دارد ،چندان محبوب همگان به ویژه کتابخوانهای اماتور نیست.
مهمترین رمان بارتلمی در کنار داستان های کوتاه بسیار معروفش ،سفید برفی نام دارد که از نمونه های شناخته شده پست مدرنیستی است .پ
The King by Donald Barthelme

This book seems to be appreciated by readers and critics: “there is much to laugh about…The King is one of the funniest books Ever written and an open invitation to a literary feast…”

If critics say that, “who am I to judge”…in the recent words of Pope Francis...and give a seal of rejection to a book, loved by so many others
This is not a judgment, but my opinion.
In a few words: I did not get it. It is postmodernist, which may mean past me.

It is a program I have to writ
Aaron Mcquiston
Aug 14, 2014 Aaron Mcquiston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dalkey-archive
Holy Crap. I have not really read much Donald Barthelme, and I'm sure that this isn't the proper place to start, but damn. "The King" is a retelling of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in a more modern setting, during the start of World War II. It is a great mash up of two different eras, but Barthelme does an incredible job of meshing them together. Some people try this and fail, but he does a fantastic job, especially considering the perceptions of the Round Table legends are already ...more
N.J. Ramsden
Jan 24, 2014 N.J. Ramsden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wonderfully witty and irreverant, Barthelme's Arthurian mashup succeeds in being both completely stupid and brilliantly perceptive, in a similar vein to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you know your source material, there's a lot in here to like, and things that will send you back to the old texts with a twinkle in your eye - and if you only know the basics, a few knights' names, something about a wizard, whatever - well, it's fluff enough to keep you entertained in that way too.

Barthelme is
Sep 29, 2013 wally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: barthelme
#5 from barthelme for me, a writer whose stories i believe i can read w/o knowing word one going in and still enjoy. you must have writers like that, hey? and then they get all snarky...or old...or the onset of that disease that makes you forget comes on...what is it? anderson's disease i think. and they get cranky?


the king, donald barthleme, finished in 1989, published 1990, illustrations by barry moser, 369 ratings, 47 reviews

a dedication: to anne and katherine

i don't know them. you?
Nov 15, 2011 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The King by Donald Barthelme. HarperCollins, New York, 1990

Guinevere comes to Launcelot...and Arthur hears about it on the radio?

An odd thing to think about, but that is precisely what happens in Barthelme’s adaptation of the story of King Arthur and his noble Knight’s of the Round Table, which is set in Europe during World War II.

This story was very confusing, constantly jumping from one scene to another with little rhyme or reason. First we read a narrative dialogue between two unnamed narrat
Eric Cartier
May 20, 2011 Eric Cartier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read two pages on May 7, then read the rest of the novel on May 12. It's brief. Neither fantasy fiction nor the Middle Ages have ever attracted my sustained attention, but Barthelme transported the Knights of the Round Table to 1944 Europe and used them as vessels for his own contemporary musings about literature, power, war, sex, money and friendship, among other topics. I made connections, chuckled, frowned and closed the book with satisfaction. A couple of Barthelme's short story collection ...more
Jack Waters
Jul 16, 2010 Jack Waters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barthelme is one of my favorite authors. He usually writes short stories, but has a few novels under his belt, including this one. I guess this is just a long short story, since it clocks in around 150 pages with geriatrically-friendly large font. It modernizes King Arthur and his knights, and weaves in themes regarding Nazis and such. But I'm not sure the type of person I would recommend this book to. For instance, were a semi-studious individual with an affinity towards knights to stumble acro ...more
Arthurian Lucre
Jul 30, 2015 Arthurian Lucre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A parodic delirious original theatrical anachronistic arthurian novel. Some chapters are fast and only made of dialogues, other have quick banters and quick descriptions.
The story is the tragedy of the absence of a tragedic ending and the outliving of Arthur, out of his times, along with his queen and knights right in the modern world of the second World War.
It made me laugh in more than one scene and one of the word it comes to mind when I know think of this book is "witty". Amazing.
May 17, 2010 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Barthelme, but I prefer his short stories. They are what he's best known for, and I think this novella is a good illustration of why that is. His ironic, absurd approach to things is hard to maintain over an extended work, and it doesn't achieve the kind of depth we expect from from a novel or novella.

But this novella is still enjoyable for all the usual reasons. His descriptions and dialogue are very funny. In many of his works, he uses the technique of decontextualizing his subj
Dec 14, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barthelme was a genius at crafting perfect sentences -- just totally excellent little sentences. His books are filled with sentences that you just want to pluck out of the book and cherish forever. It's just a bonus that he also strung them together to form his hilarious and totally unique books.

The King was a great read with many memorable characters, dialogue, and scenarios. Like other books of his I've read, there is a detached, dreamlike feel. There's no plot per se, rather the action and s
Ana Cretiu
Jan 02, 2015 Ana Cretiu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You basically fly through this book. It feels both like a play and a novel, with somehow delightful characters. I was a bit skeptical about the idea of bringing medieval characters into WWII, but I loved the final result, though I grant it will not suit everyone. However, as someone already stated in a review here, the book is so short, it really is worth a try.
May 21, 2013 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The idea to place King Arthur and his knights in the setting of World War II is a good one, but for anyone with an above-average knowledge on the Arthurian lore, this book fails on multiple levels. It seems as though Barthelme was more attracted to the idea of King Arthur than devoted to an actual study of the lore. In other words,one gets the impression that he just slapped Arthurian names onto these characters without any real knowledge of who these knights were. While this story might work fo ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Eva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No le he pillado el punto esta historia, quizás no era el momento, porque al principio prometía y entiendo las buenas críticas. Pero a mí me ha aburrido esta distopía, en la cual el rey Arturo todavía es rey de Inglaterra en plena I Guerra Mundial. Bien escrita, bien trazada, y aún así no me ha cautivado.
Jun 28, 2011 Weston rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frequently funny, sometimes nonsensical and occasionally enlightening. The book's anachronistic premise thrusts King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table into the theater of World War II, leaving them to tackle not only the questions of atomic warfare, communism and their own chivalrous/oligarcich irrelevance, but also burgeoning social issues of feminism and race.

A highlight was the scene in which King Arthur decides against putting an atomic bomb to use, proclaiming that "this false Gra
May 13, 2012 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the thick of World War Two. Winston Churchill is Prime Minister. King Arthur and Guinevere head the Royal Family. Arthur considers seeking the Grail to counter the threat of an atomic bomb. Ezra Pound broadcasts propaganda from Italy. Arthur and his knights join the fighting as Rommel's tanks menace Tobruk. Mordred is left in England as regent.

The world of Arthurian Romance and WWII history overlap and interact. Each mileu seems at times to operate independantly of the other, though occupyin
G. Brown
Dec 13, 2014 G. Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Donald Barthelme. He just has a knack for writing off the wall stuff that I can read endlessly.

This novel is ostensibly an allegory about WWII. We all remember that famous battle where Sir Launcelot and Sir Roger stopped fighting in order to buy Girl Scout cookies, right? So, really, this story is only 1/3 WWII allegory. It's another 1/3 legacy of Arthurian England. It's another 1/3 amazing ramblings.

But the thing that makes this book truly special is that
Nov 04, 2013 Gemma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like this book just started off as a casual joke, and blossomed into this bizarre and hilarious mockery of Arthurian legend. What if, Barthelme proposes, King Arthur and all of his knights were still around during World War II? Chivalric language buts up against blunt vernacular, and it's always funny. I love Barthelme's long dialogue only passages, where peasants watch Mordred do a weird dance, or Lancelot angrily bludgeon things. But since it's Barthelme something dark and profound snea ...more
John Compton
Jul 25, 2015 John Compton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, silly, occasionally quite serious.
Jul 11, 2015 Regina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
king Arthur retold as world war II
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Donald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania. The family moved to Texas two years later, where Barthelme's father would become a professor of architecture at the University of Houston, where Barthelme would later major in journalism. In 1951, still a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War in 1953, arriving ...more
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