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3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,651 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
In this luminous novel -- winner of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize -- John Berger relates the story of "G.," a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of this century. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the Don Juan's success ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 8th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1972)
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Life of Pi by Yann MartelThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Blind Assassin by Margaret AtwoodMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Booker Prize Winners
45th out of 50 books — 1,587 voters
It by Stephen KingShe by H. Rider HaggardKim by Rudyard KiplingFoe by J.M. CoetzeeC by Tom McCarthy
T is for Title
7th out of 85 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 10, 2015 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-novels
Won the Booker prize in the early 70s (not necessarily an auspicious start) and by John Berger; I really wanted to like this. It is the story of G, son of an Italian merchant and his mistress and takes place in before and during the first world war. It is a post-modern novel and its structure isn't conventional. G is essentially a hedonist, a Don Juan (or possibly Casanova) figure. Parts of this are beautifully written, especially the descriptions relating to the early aviators.
G inherits his f
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Like what I said in my review of Zamyatin's "We," I believe I've found a fair explanation of why the books included in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die made it on the list, and this I found in another listing, the 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die where the Introduction explained the choices by these justifications:

1. the painting (book) is interesting because of its subject matter;
2. the painting (book) is interesting because of the way it is written; and
3. the painting (boo
Aug 07, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
The curiously-named G. by John Berger won the Booker Prize in 1972 as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Wikipedia has very little to say about the book so although there is a bit of chat about it here on GoodReads I presume that it isn’t widely read and nobody feels confident about writing the definitive entry about it for Wikipedia.

I liked it, and I liked it a lot. It’s unashamedly postmodern, but it’s picaresque which makes it a reading experience somewhat different to other postmo
Courtney H.
Feb 02, 2012 Courtney H. rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookers
Ah, my first non-5-star (I'm incredibly lazy with rankings). G. isn't quite so far down my list of enjoyable books as to be a 1-star (Hi, Atonement! Hope you get along with Tess of D'Ubervilles, you're the only ones down there), but I really did not like this book. Which is a shame, because I actually really love John Berger; I love Pig Earth and Once in Europa. But G. was vastly different and vastly inferior. Perhaps I'm just a stick-in-the-mud and couldn't grasp/appreciate the experimental sty ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was one of the easier Booker prize winners to read, despite (or maybe because of) its disjointed style. The protagonist is interesting but I almost feel like the author connects the reader to him much better when he is a child than when he is an adult. There are interesting statements made on relationships, some silly and unnecessary drawings, and set before WWI in Europe.
T.J. Beitelman
Feb 28, 2012 T.J. Beitelman rated it it was amazing
So I sent somebody, a writer (a better writer than me, in fact), an email not too long ago about how I was loving this book by John Berger called G. And she wrote back and asked me what I loved about it. So I responded, but this same email also included an attachment of some of my own work, and I felt like I needed to preface my work with, you know, my doubts about whether or not it cohered, arrived, whatever.

Anyway: this was the prefatory stuff, about my work:
I do think it does *something* (
Aug 11, 2015 orsodimondo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglese
Il mio interesse per lei è appena inferiore a quello che provo per G. scrive John Berger a pagina 186. Ma così non è: di G. gli interessa poco.
Lo usa più che altro come trait d'Union, il romanzo sembra soprattutto parlare d'altro.

D’altronde, G. non è particolarmente interessante, tutt’altro.
Come non lo sono suo padre e sua madre: personaggi abbastanza ordinari che niente hanno da spartire con i protagonisti epici e sovrumani, pur se inseriti negli ultimi g
Jul 22, 2009 Michael rated it did not like it
This book ended up really getting on my nerves, so that I couldn't finish it. Which is too bad, because I was really getting to love Berger at his best (see my review of And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos) and he basically laid it on so thick here that now I know I'll have a harder time stomaching his style even in cases when it's much more artfully applied. This book won the Booker Prize in '72, so I was especially disappointed. He comes off more or less as a twat with some grand theory a ...more
David M
Feb 26, 2016 David M rated it it was amazing
The other day I was modeling for a figure drawing class, and brought G. along to read during my breaks. The instructor of the class asked what book I had. I said G., a novel by Jon Berger. A slightly confused look on his face. Oh, he said, he was familiar with Berger's art criticism but didn't realize the man wrote novels.

Perhaps this reaction exemplifies the state of Berger's reputation. He hasn't exactly fallen into obscurity; his work as a critic and journalist is still well-known, but his ac
Dec 13, 2012 Shaula rated it liked it
The language in which this book is written is gorgeous, no question. And the philosophical flights are thought-provoking, if sometimes obscure. But the title character, G., is ... what? A sociopath? A nymphomaniac? He pursues women whom he claims to love (frequently on no stronger a basis than first sight), indifferent to the chaos he causes in their lives.

Initially, his tendency to admire in his inamoratas features that might otherwise be unattractive gave the impression that he was drawn to th
Vit Babenco
Apr 20, 2014 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
G. is an extravagant rendering of Don Juan myth, the stone guest included, set before and at the beginning of the Great War. The novel is written in the very unusual style and it took me quite a while before I began to surmise that the story is a rather subtle satire.
“The state of being in love was usually short-lived – except in unhappy cases of unrequited love. Far shorter lived than the nineteenth-century romantic emphasis on the condition would lead us to believe. Sexual passion may have var
Alex Rendall
I find it very difficult to adequately summarise John Berger’s G. This may partially be due to the difficulty in categorising John Berger, who can at once be described as a painter, art critic, novelist, essayist and sociologist. Berger has contributed much to a number of varied fields and his knowledge of multiple subject areas imbues his work. G. is a sweeping novel that spans genres and at times appears to blur the lines between fiction and fact.

The novel begins in Italy in 1898 and follows t
Sally Flint
Mar 16, 2014 Sally Flint rated it it was ok
I did not understand chunks of this book at all. Dragged myself through it, only because I am doing the let's read all the man-bookers challenge, but otherwise would have definitely given up. As it was the last third got a cursory skim through. There were sentences and phrases that were sheer brilliance, and I understand it was supposed to post-modernist - i.e. difficult to follow, but I didn't really see why it fulfilled postmodernist criteria (perhaps that is silly thing to say in itself.) The ...more
Apr 25, 2009 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Brian Johnson
An enjoyable enough book with a quirky way of both presenting the story (through some unidentified narrator) and telling the story (shifting back and forth between what G (the protagonist) is thinking and what the narrator is observing). It is set in pre-World War I Europe and is the story of a serial lover who may or may not be involved in the resistance, but probably is not – more than likely he is simply trying to add another man’s wife to his list of conquests and cares nothing for the polit ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Yasemin rated it did not like it
Shelves: yabancı-roman
Kitabın önsözünde ne kadar "Kadın özgürlüğü hareketindeki kız kardeşlerine" dese de roman korkunç bir kadın aşağılaması içeriyor. Oldukça rahatsız edici, ahlak yargılarını erkeğe uyduran, sadece onun için normalleştiren, ama kadın için söz konusu olduğunda çileden çıkaran bir karakterle karşı karşıyayız. John Berger'dan beklemediğim basitlikte bir romandı maalesef.
Jan 21, 2011 Leonie rated it it was ok
This poor old battered copy didn't survive it's final reading and I was literally throwing the pages away as I read them. It took me such a long time to read because the story was circuitous and 'psychedelic' meaning that it was incomprehensible and disjointed at times. I found it difficult to remember which protagonists were which and how they related to each other. The weaving of real life events into the narrative only served to confuse me more as I kept querying whether something was fact or ...more
Jul 04, 2016 Lilanthi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The protagonist, a man born of unfortunate circumstances, mysteriously known only as “G”…plunders through life single-mindedly, destroying all lives he touches, while history is in the making, around him.
Nov 10, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Довольно странный сумбурный роман, получивший высочайшее одобрение букеровского комитета в 1972 году (на самом деле тот год вообще обошёлся без громких имён). Сумбурный = постмодерновый. Главный герой (обозначенный буквой Дж.) имеет некую склонность к женскому полу, за что аннотация его окрестила новым воплощением Казановы. Обычно Казанову называют коварным обольстителем. В данном случае всё не так просто, скорее женщины соблазняют Дж. и используют его в своих целях. Казанова, которого коварно и ...more
Robert Parkhouse
Feb 26, 2015 Robert Parkhouse rated it liked it
This book is intricate with its descriptions - sometimes way too intricate in that you begin to wonder the purpose of their form - and I found it to be a very hard read in places. Indeed, so convoluted are some descriptive passages that the author actually feels the needs to justify his prose mid-description in places!

The story itself traces the life of an individual from his conception to his ultimate undoing in a series of episodes set against a backdrop of the social and political upheavals o
Alfonso D'agostino
Quando ero alle media, una professoressa ci convinse ad aderire ad una associazione che organizzava contatti fra studenti via posta: i classici “amici di penna”, insomma, con lo scopo di esercitare le proprie abilità linguistiche al di fuori dell’istituto scolastico. Ognuno doveva compilare una scheda in cui dettagliava i suoi desiderata per quanto riguardava l’interlocutore: inutile sottolineare che ogni maschietto chiese una femminuccia, e viceversa.
Siccome non era elegante chiedere o inviare
Justin McCarthy
This book begins with a short history of his parents affair and her eventual pregnancy with a character who is only ever referred to as 'the boy' or, when he grows up, 'G.'. His childhood is spent living with his mother at a farm with his mother's siblings. When the boy grows up he becomes a Casanova-like character and extramarital affairs abound. This all occurs with the backdrop of England and Italy towardsthe end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.

After the first hun
Yume Kitasei
Mar 19, 2014 Yume Kitasei rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, man-booker
This book slips about like a shadow out of the corner of your eye: it is part stream of consciousness, part epic historical fiction, part literary eroticism. I cannot say I liked it, but I also cannot deny that it was brilliantly written.

G. is the illegitimate son of an Italian candied fruit magnate and his rich American mistress. He is raised by his mother's cousins on an English farm and grows up in isolation. The rest of his adult life is a series of unlikely romantic escapades (despite the v
Eli Greenlaw
Feb 23, 2009 Eli Greenlaw rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who love highly descriptive language
Recommended to Eli by: Staff of Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle
I just finished this book and already I'm dying to read it again.

I think it's best enjoyed in small doses. In any number of places he lulls you to sleep with some pretty boring text, then he gets 'inspired' or something and begins to rattle off some of the most beautifully worded and descriptive language I've ever heard.

I need to write more, to give some examples, but I have to head off to work! I will be updating this review within the next few days.

Dec 12, 2015 Pechi rated it liked it
2.5 it is.

G promised to give brilliant interpretations of what happened to men and women during the physical act of love.(Yeah. its a friends reference :P ) But the book has everything else instead of that . And even while sex accidentally happens he sprinkles the text with too much history ,philosophy and absolutely unnecessary mumbo jumbo.

First of all , the hero in such a book should at least be likeable. But this G is a jerk who mainly targets married /committed women and destroys their liv
Apr 27, 2016 yasar rated it liked it
Her kelimesine ayrı odaklanamıcaksanız boşa çabalamayın. Her sayfası ayrı dolu. %65e kadar dayanabilirseniz (bayılanlar olmuş) sonraları biraz açılıyor anlatım. Ama bu kadar zorlamaya ne gerek vardı? G ile hayatı aynı şekilde hissediyoruz. Gerçi o hayattan istediğini alma konusunda pek bi şanslı. Olsun açı aynı, kısa yaşıcaz biz.
Anne Tucker
Mar 18, 2015 Anne Tucker rated it it was ok
not sure about this book at all ... there were some very interesting sections about the politics of Austria/Italy/Balkans t the start of the First World War (so much so that i have now started to read an Introduction to WW1, to get clearer about the whole thing .. so thats one plus caused by reading this!) but they were intercut with a progressively less and less engaging story about G himself, a kind of Lothario (??) who sleeps with any woman he can find whose husband/partner G wants to screw o ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Jen rated it did not like it
Shelves: man-booker-prize
Blergh. I found this book barely readable, and can only wonder at how many airports Berger must have woo'd the Booker Prize judges with to get this one over the line. It gets one star & a review, so future me can remember I once had a staring competition with it and lost.
Mar 16, 2015 Jeruen rated it liked it
I suppose I landed myself an experimental novel. I was browsing a used bookstore once and came across this novel. The description was interesting and therefore I picked it up. It is a novel about a Don Juan in Europe during World War I, and so I thought it would be an interesting read. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.

First, let me provide a synopsis of this work. This novel is a novel about the character whose name is G., who is born from an Italian father, who is a businessman from Livorno; and a
Kilian Metcalf
Dec 13, 2015 Kilian Metcalf rated it it was ok
Obviously I have a tin ear for this book, which other reviewers have loved. To me it was just one episode after another of the author mansplaining women. Here's an example:

The wife so values the time still left her that she is desperate to fill it with new experience.

The widow so despises teh time still left her that she is certain that no true experience can enter it.

Both are deceived.

And this description of his seductive skill:

He places his hand on her nose and mouth so that they are covered.
Jun 05, 2015 Palivo rated it it was ok
Shelves: british
Nevím, jak se to Bergerovi povedlo, ale dokázal napsat nezajímavou knihu, která obsahuje strašně moc kund, což jsem si myslel že je vrchol oxymoronismu.
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John Peter Berger is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a college text.

Later he was self exiled to continental Europe, living between the french Alps in summer and the suburbs of Paris in winter. Since then, his production has increa
More about John Berger...

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