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Inglorious

2.73 of 5 stars 2.73  ·  rating details  ·  210 ratings  ·  54 reviews
A darkly comic novel about a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, set against the backdrop of a London awash with faithless lovers, cutthroat strivers, and so-called friends
One day successful young journalist and dedicated urbanite Rosa Lane sends her boss an e-mail that says "I quit" and then walks out of her job. She can't explain why--not to Liam, who's lived
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Metropolitan Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 547)
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Antonomasia
[4.5]What a poorly-skewed ratings graph this book has on Goodreads. But the reviews here (and on Amazon) explain why: it's been mis-marketed. Does that cover look like quite a serious philosophical novel to you? Nope, I didn't think so. Only this cover suits it. People will judge and choose by covers, no matter what old adages say. And a lot of the blurbs sound altogether too chicklitty. The quotes from the serious press make sense but "Smart, funny and warm"? I think someone sentElle a Kathy Le ...more
Alistair
i bought this book on spec largeley because it had a dog on the cover and one of the reviewers said the tone was somewhere between Bridget Jones and Philip Larkin . i soon forgot about the dog because this is a brilliant account of someone having a nervous breakdown and driven almost mad and paranoid because she gave up her job , lost her mother and her boyfriend in short succession

the Bridget Jones connection comes only because , Rosa whose nervous breakdown is described , is a thirty somethin
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Mary
I had high hopes for this book. It has a compelling premise: a thirty-something woman, whose mother has died, walks out of her own life—quits her job, breaks up with her boyfriend, and starts couch surfing. It seems as though an interesting philosophical journey will unfold. But her Bartelby-like approach quickly becomes infuriating and annoying. Perhaps this is because Rosa’s inner dialogues are too repetitive, focused as they are on being broke. She isn’t likable, with her “oh-poor-me, why doe ...more
David Grieve
One of the best books I have read for a long time. A thirty something journalist walks out of her job shortly after her mother has died. She has also split up with her long term partner as the relationship has decayed over time.

She relies on friends and her father to support her as she runs out of money but doesn't have the wherewithal to get another job.

She is totally self absorbed as her mental state declines and the question is whether her friends are shabbily turning their backs on her or wh
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Alicia
The jacket describes this novel as "piercingly wise and bitingly funny" with a main character who is "a triumphant modern heroine." I can;t think of worse ways to describe this book, which was profoundly depressing. The main character, a successful journalist, suffers a sort of mid-life crisis after the death of her mother and abruptly quits her job. Then her boyfriend of ten years dumps her for another woman, and all her friends are jackasses, and she's just in a terrible mental state for the e ...more
Alter
This is not a chick lit novel. It is a specific response to a particular genre of fiction: the Outsider genre.

This is the great urban genre where the protagonist wanders through a big confusing dirty city, wondering about the meaning of life and the universe and everything - Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, Knut Hamsun, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Robert Musil, Joseph Roth etc.

The protagonist of Inglorious is trying to understand a way to live with the knowledge that all those we love, our par
...more
Jayne Charles
This was a profound and quite moving novel which, against all expectations, sustained its intensity right through to the end, never letting up at all. It is surely the work of an awesome intellect. The story follows Rosa, a journalist who suffers a sort of early mid-life crisis following the death of her mother, quits her job and slides into poverty and mental instability. Suddenly she is aware of the futility of her own existence, and the fundamental questions of philosophy are suddenly all too ...more
Cecilia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meerab
I read this book a few months back and wish I had written this review then when the details were fresher in my mind. It certainly does not preach the kind of philosophy one is used to in books, where after going through lots of struggles and crisis with your identity and place in the world, you reach a point where you figure it all out and move on. That way, there is no rainbow after the rain. But there is something seering and brutally honest about the way Rosa goes through the fall from grace ...more
Wooky
Forget the chick-lit-like cover photograph. This is a very quirky and funny, yet dark and serious portrait of depression. It sagged a bit past the middle mark, when there wasn't much to propel the plot forward, but I closed the book really admiring how the author was able to mix some really dark elements with lots of humor. Also strong were her insights into the psychology of her characters (especially in the last scene between the protagonist and her ex-boyfriend).
Juliann
This one dragged at time but mostly because of the style - very British. The story of a woman who just walks out one day, seeming to know that there needs to be a change in her life but not sure how to get there. There was something so true about the way the people in her life wanted her to "just get on with it" - I think it is how we all function, as if we are all just there on the edge of wanting to walk out on our lives.
Jennifer
I did not like this book at all.

I picked this book because the story sounded intriguing....

"One day successful young journalist and dedicated urbanite Rosa Lane sends her boss an e-mail that says "I quit" and then walks out of her job. She can't explain why--not to Liam, who's lived with her for years; not to her friends; not to her anxious, recently widowed father. All Rosa knows is that she needs to find enlightenment, to somehow understand her mother's death and do more than just earn her li
...more
Stephanie
ugh... don't bother. one of those books where you keep waiting for something to Happen and the reason you don't just throw it away is cuz you want to know what happens in the end. which was nothing. bit fat zilch. though. i did somewhat like her writing style and there was potential there but it was somehow lost along the way.
Carolyn
I didn’t love this. The lead character’s downward spiral…never really ends but it never really takes off either. I guess I needed things to either get better or get worse, but there was sort of a sameness to it all. And when it ends, it.just.ends. No resolution either way really.

But there were two things I really really loved about it. I loved her to-do lists. SO funny. (Lists where things like “Read all of Western Philosophy” receive the same weight as things like “vacuum”.) And I loved her “le
...more
Syznaa
I am not proud of myself for having a month to finally put down this book. I had intentions to make this book as a fast-read from the start and I wasted an exact month for myself to finish reading. I guess it was because of the English writing style that made it seem a bit more contra to the usual American read or sense of flow that it has, that I'm not simply used to. The storyline is pretty much okay, I get the whole point, but it was a bit draggy and a lot of repetition. I was honestly slow b ...more
Rebecca
I loved the first couple of pages of this when she quit her job abruptly. After that I struggled - but I'm not sure whether that says more about my state of mind or the state of mind of the heroine. It's quite hard when teetering on the brink of being depressed yourself to read about someone having a nervous breakdown; it was all so internal and introspective. And those readers in a bright bouncy positive state of mind probably wouldn't feel inclined to read it in the first place. However, it co ...more
Carrie
Aug 07, 2008 Carrie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
Inglorious is British author Joanna Kavenna’s first novel, and I can’t say it makes me want to pick up any of her future work.

Inglorious is the story of Rosa Lane, a writer who works as a critic for a London newspaper. She is floundering after the death of her mother. Her grief has overwhelmed her, and made her already floundering relationship with Liam come to a dead standstill. When she decides to resign from her job, Liam is pushed to admit that they have no future together. He dumps her, tak
...more
Chaitra
This is another book I read, solely because it wasn't rated high (the other being The Jane Austen Book Club. Here too, I agree completely with the average. Well, I rate it less than the average. Perhaps not for the same reason, but there it is.

I wouldn't have looked at it twice if it wasn't an Orange Prize winner for New Writers, to be honest. I like the cover, but I'm not sure I like the epithets "wildly funny", "exhilarating". These usually denote the complete opposite, and this book is no ex
...more
Anna
Repetitious and navel gazing, but some of it is really well written. The interior life of the main character is incredibly depressing because it's so boring. Boring and familiar. This book conforms to many of the genre expectations of "chick lit," but it subverts these expectations by being horribly realistic about one particular woman's interior life. Whereas most chick lit provides us with an "everywoman" character whose "quirky eccentricities" include shopping, cooking, antiquing, or a large ...more
Chuk Yong
Rosa suffered a mid-life crisis at the young age of 35 and decided to quit her job. What followed was a series of her being swept by the current of life while she tried hard to find her purpose.

It could have been an enlightening journey but Joanna Kavenna tried to keep it light. It was funny at first but as it went on, humour was lost and I felt like being dragged along while Rosa met with one disappointment after another. Her long 'to-do list' of job hunting, negotiating with the bank and read
...more
Gretchen
Inglorious is the story of a 30-something woman who loses her mother, her boyfriend, her job, and just maybe, her sanity. After the death of her mother, Rosa Lane finds herself adrift, searching for the meaning of life. Rosa finds comfort in reciting endless lists of objectives to herself, ranging from "Hoover living room" to "Read Shakespeare, Proust, Dante, Spencer, Milton, Donne, and the others." Her attempts to get something done and to get out of her depression are a slim plot on which to h ...more
Julie
I really enjoyed this book, and found it also compulsively readable. However, at times I was very frustrated with the protagonist, Rosa. Of course, as many characters do, she makes stupid choices, but this isn't what I'm complaining about. At times Rosa felt like she was having a psychotic break. Perhaps that was the intention? I doubt it. Lots of wandering around, oblivious to the world and kind of freaking out...I guess that in London she was able to do so without attracting stares, but in oth ...more
Adrienne
For perhaps only the second or third time in my life, I gave up on a book. This was so awful I stopped reading it.
Martha
This was a rather frustrating book. It was well-written and often quite interesting. But, it was completely plotless. I normally don't mind that, but it got to be maddening with this one. It was essentially the internal monologue of Rosa, who left her job and broke up with her boyfriend in the first few pages of the book. The internal monologue doesn't get her anywhere after that. She can't pull it together and her friends are all jerks. It seemed like a realistic picture of someone spinning the ...more
Alda
"Inglorious" could be included in the tradition of novels narrating existential crises. It's about a thirty-five-yearl-old woman questioning every choice in her life and never reaching satisfactory answers. That said, even though it's neither a superficial nor an uninteresting novel, I think the text comes out as too verbose and, most of the time, insofar as it explores well-known topics without much originality, too banal, and with few high moments, especially in the initial sections. As I see ...more
Bianca Butacu
it's too much like Bridget Jones diary
Mike
I picked this up because it was described as a dark comedy with biting humor. Once and a while, one of her letters was amusing, but the whole book was like watching a comedian die onstage. I think it wanted to be funny, but it just couldn't get there.

The book was also plain dull. My eyes kept glazing over as I read about Rosa's philosophical views on life.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. In fact, several times I nearly quit on it but I kept thinking it would get better. Trust me, it do
...more
seanat (elka)
After her mother dies Rose walks out of her job, is dumped by her boyfriend and makes herself homeless. As she free-falls into a nervous breakdown Rose is told by all and sundry to just get on with it and pull herself together but is at first unwilling and later incapable of doing so.
Both dark and comic, I thought this a fascinating read although a bit long-winded. Written as Rose thinks ; she isn't always likeable, you certainly want to give her a good shake sometimes but ultimately I did find
...more
Rebecca tedder
Although this book sounded promising I found it a slow paced tale of not much in particular. Rosa quits her job, Liam her boyfriend dumps her and moves on to the attractive equally charismatic Grace. Then she slips into deeper depression and a form of mental illness. The start was intriguing, it just didn't pick up or pack any surprises or real matters of interest whilst Rosa tried to pick up the pieces of her fallen world. This was a struggle to finish and unfortunately I won't be rushing back ...more
Annelise
Genre search FAIL. It was classified as "Humorous fiction" and, while the heroine wrote some very funny to-do lists and job application letters, mostly it's a pretty depressing tale of a woman sinking into depression after her mother dies, quitting her job, getting dumped by her boyfriend of many years (who then becomes engaged to one of her best friends), and running out of money while overstaying her welcome in her friend's spare room. Nothing ever really happens. It was a great sleep aid, tho ...more
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Joanna Kavenna is a prize-winning British novelist and travel writer.

Kavenna spent her childhood in Suffolk and the Midlands as well as various other parts of Britain. She has also lived in the United States, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

These travels led to her first book, The Ice Museum, which was published in 2005. It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award in that
...more
More about Joanna Kavenna...
The Birth of Love Come to the Edge The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule Venid hasta el borde, les dijo Arc 2.2: Chromewash

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“The following morning she realised they hated her. That hurt her feelings; she always preferred her hatred to be unreciprocated.” 2 likes
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