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Король (Мастера современной прозы)
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Король (Мастера современной прозы)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  454 ratings  ·  60 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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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 soldiers or queens or bastards are alone. Where are the
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
He leído cosas trilladas y absurdas, novelas con infulas de experimento o de innovación, en todas ellas no deja de verse la costura. Barthelme creo que lo llevaba en la sangre, todo lo que escribe es maravillosamente fluido y genial, y si después de El padre muerto yo pensaba que había leído algo genial, me he dado de bruces con El rey, que ha superado todas mis previsiones y me ha mostrado un relato gamberro, irreverente, genial y extremadamente bien escrito. Imprescindible.
Oct 27, 2009 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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
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
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
#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?
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
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
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
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
A retelling of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table set during WWII. Guinevere is watching over the kingdom while Arthur is on the battle fields w/ the troups. As Arthur says, during wartime the constitutional monarchy is needed symbolically. Arthur, Launcelot, Gawain as super heros, if frivilous. Almost the entire book is dialogue. An interesting concept but it falls flat, possibly b/c the topic/themes/characters/novella-length are incongruous to the playfulness.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Read for Love and Hate: Medieval to Early Modern, Spring 2014.

Not my favorite. It's interesting, and some parts are very funny, but overall not really to my taste.
G. Brown
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
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
Mike Polizzi
"We have plans for you, the warrior class,...Your functions, in the future, will be chiefly ornamental. Ushers, traffic wardens, overseer of carparks, doormen, elevator operators, that sort of thing. Little niches where you can do no harm. Not the life you've led heretofore but not, on the whole, a bad life."

So goes chivalry in the age of nuclear war. Anachronisms abound, much more coherent than his famous short works, this is Barthelme as political cartoonist.
Will Klein
Dec 05, 2007 Will Klein rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Arthurian, post-modern, myth
King Arthur tries to rule England, keep his wife and his knights occupied, and fend off his bastard Mordred's attempts at the crown... while fighting World War II. A strange, funny, sad Arthurian tale that feels as traditional as Steinbeck's, or as revisionist as White's... The King reads like a staged play, with wit and warmth- and really, shouldn't all tales of the doomed king be strange, funny and sad?
Jill Wright
Wonderful mash-up of King Arthur and his crew with th emadness of WW II. Need a bit of background in the Tarot, Medieval History and of course WW II to get the references. But the language and humor is wonderful!
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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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