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G.

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,214 ratings  ·  79 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
43rd out of 50 books — 1,351 voters
It by Stephen KingShe by H. Rider HaggardKim by Rudyard KiplingC by Tom McCarthyFoe by J.M. Coetzee
T is for Title
13th out of 78 books — 35 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa
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
...more
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
...more
Paul
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
...more
Courtney H.
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
Vit Babenco
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
...more
T.J. Beitelman
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* (
...more
Shaula
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
...more
orsodimondo
CRONACA DI UNA DELUSIONE NON ANNUNCIATA
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 per farci avanzare lungo il suo romanzo.
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 gradini della scala socia
...more
Michael
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
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
...more
Melody
Apr 25, 2009 Melody rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Leonie
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
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
...more
Sally Flint
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
Yume
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
...more
Eli Greenlaw
Feb 23, 2009 Eli Greenlaw rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.

Cheers!
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.
Lukáš Palán
Nevím, jak se to Bergerovi povedlo, ale dokázal napsat nezajímavou knihu, která obsahuje strašně moc kund, což jsem si myslel že je vrchol oxymoronismu.
Randal Samstag
Remarkable literature by the man who was an inspiration to Michael Ondaatje amd Arundhati Roy.
Samantha
For me, this book's greatest strength lies in Berger's imagery. He takes the simplest moments and gestures--the tilt of a head, the way a hand lays against a thigh--and creates images of astounding beauty.

Second to Berger's ability to draw images is his grasp of the meta-fictional voice. So many authors, in attempting to write meta-fiction, over-write. Berger's meta-fiction felt very natural. It not only occured in a very organic way within the narrative, it also complimented the themes of the
...more
Liviu
G is a very interesting but somewhat strange novel; well deserving of the Booker it won for beautiful prose and some great paragraphs about relationships - among the best introspective descriptions of people in a romantic and erotic context and not only I've read.

The structure in paragraphs linked in a whole as well as the authorial insertion about this or that works well despite the seeming scattering in the beginning.

G the main hero is a mystery almost to the end and he is reflected through wo
...more
Laura
Reading G. made me nostalgic for my college lit courses on postmodernism. So much material to sift through--I got the distinct impression that Berger was larding up the symbolism sometimes just for the heck of it. Though nostalgic, I'm reminded why reading some mid-century English & American novels is such a chore. I do respect the resistance to the conventional story form, but the alternatives always seem so contrived, outside of a few notable exceptions (Woolf comes to mind).

Still, G. has
...more
Katy
Six books in and I've just discovered this series from The Guardian on looking back at the Booker Prize winners.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/books...

Of G., they say that "[it] is worth reading just for its vertiginous description of the first crossing of the Alps by plane, its crushing examples of the first world war's futile slaughter and a barnstorming rendition of the Milan riots of 1898. The latter scene culminates in a suave refusal to finish describing the slaughter because stopping wh
...more
Mita
"… un piccolo piccione vanitoso"
Il regalo di un’amica.
Mi è stato proposto come un libro sperimentale, ma pieno di stimoli e non c’è dubbio che lo sia realmente.
Non è sicuramente un romanzo lineare, perché la narrazione prosegue frammentata, slegata. Non racconta una storia nella sua interezza, ma momenti, immagini, alternando racconto, analisi psicologiche, storiche e sociali, stimoli sensoriali.
Ci sono dei passaggi che sembrano svilupparsi come il concertato di un’opera lirica.
E’ un libro c
...more
Tonymess
I know it has been a while since I last posted a Booker Prize review, there is a very good reason for that, this novel took me a very long time to conquer. And a serious battle it was. You know that feeling when you pick up a lauded book, you struggle with it, but you have that determined psyche, the one that says “you will not beat me”. Unlike a number of other Booker Prize Shortlisted novels (and “The Satanic Verses” springs to mind here), I am proud to say this one did not beat me. I won!!!

Es
...more
Editorial Alfaguara
�Qui�n es G.? �Don Juan? �Garibaldi? �Alg�n h�roe rom�ntico? �El libertador de las mujeres? Espectador de los principales acontecimientos que agitaron Europa en los a�os anteriores a la Primera Guerra Mundial, G. encarna, seg�n su autor, �al hombre que hace el amor como una forma de destruir mentalmente a la sociedad establecida�. Prof�tica en muchos aspectos, G. es una reflexi�n sobre la sexualidad masculina en un mundo en el que las mujeres ya no son propiedad indiscutible de los hombres. Su a ...more
Andy
A truly weird book. Combines the history of the late 19th and early 20th century - specifically, Italy and the Balkans, and the working class and nationalist politics that would help lead to the War - with one man's sexual conquests, not to mention numerous philosophical asides by Berger on topics ranging from death to art to sex. It doesn't quite all hang together, its more of a mosaic of ideas, but fascinating ones at that. Definitely the weirdest book to win the Booker - capped off by Berger' ...more
iarXiv
Littered with interesting ideas and profound statements, but way too dense for a novel. It is essentially a winding, complex, philosophical essay with a loose theme surrounding a young man called G. There are gems buried within, but you've got to work hard to get at them.
Hugh
This is a difficult one to review. I liked "To the wedding" a lot, and I'm always interested in Booker winners, but having just finished reading this I'm genuinely unsure how I feel about it. On one level a picaresque with a central character loosely based on Don Giovanni, it also covers a broad sweep of European history in the late 19th and early 20th century, largely focused on Italy, and is full of interesting ideas.
Allison
This is the first Booker Prize winner that I have really, really not enjoyed. In places the prose was beautiful but everything important about this book - its historical setting, its protagonist, all of the sex - struck me as so vapid and flat that I almost just gave up 2/3 of the way through from not caring. I'm told there's a larger point here, and critics bestowed such superlative adjectives on it, but it did absolutely nothing for me.
And to think that this book beat out The Chant of Jimmie B
...more
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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.
More about John Berger...
Ways of Seeing About Looking To the Wedding And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos Pig Earth

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