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Here Is Where We Meet: A Story of Crossing Paths
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Here Is Where We Meet: A Story of Crossing Paths

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  442 ratings  ·  45 reviews
One of the most widely admired writers of our time returns us to the captivating play and narrative allure of his previous novels–G. and To the Wedding among them–with a shimmering fiction drawn from chapters of his own life.One hot afternoon in Lisbon, the narrator finds his long-dead mother seated on a park bench. “The dead don’t stay where they are buried,” she tells hi ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Vintage (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,045)
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lori mitchell
this is a beautiful, beautiful book. john berger has the ability to paint a beautiful picture with his words. my words will never do it justice. seriously one of the best books i've ever read. it's just beautiful.

my favorite quotes:
"If you have to cry, he said, and sometimes you can't help it, if you have to cry, cry afterwards, never during! Remember this. Unless you're with those who love you, only those who love you, and in that case you're already lucky, for there are never many who love yo
...more
Jonathan
Mar 06, 2009 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those with a conscious.
Shelves: fiction
John Berger is an English speaking man who speaks a universal language. His books are like music, with intros, crescendos, choruses and bridges. His prose moves with the promise that every word is written with perfect intent. Often times it felt as though a relative were telling me story of their past and that there was a grand moral lesson to be learned. The book is less about a blatant narrative and more about the underlying narrative of life, not bound by time, history, borders, or geology. I ...more
Julie
This rates, for me, somewhere between "just OK" and "better than "OK", so perhaps a 2 and 3/4 rating. Although the concept is immensely seductive -- the idea of meeting the beloved dead in places across the globe, and having a conversation with them once again -- the "truth" of it is not all that engaging.

In engaging in the delightful fantasy that something like this might be truly possible, I would find myself asking much more considered questions; would find myself expressing all the things I
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Though critics can't agree exactly what genre Berger is working in ("autobiographical fiction, fictional autobiography, or maybe a hybrid of breviary, consecration, and ancestor worship," says Harper's), the praise for his writing comes so close to unanimity that classification seems beside the point. It's one thing to earn artistic freedom, something this British author has done with classic works of fiction (the trilogy Into Their Labors) and art criticism (About Looking and Ways of Seeing); i

...more
Eric
The power and the poetry of this novel (which can as easily be classified as a memoir, probably) sneaks up on you, and it's the kind of novel that will undoubtedly reward re-readings. It's retrospective travel literature of the most touching order, tender ghost stories of love and compassion, and is filled throughout with Berger's trademark power of visual observation, his awareness of the poetry of the everyday.

"Life depends on finding cover," the narrator writes. "Everything hides. What has va
...more
Uzma
what a unique book. it was unlike anything i have ever read that i can think of. its a fiction but feels like a memoir of sorts. its not very long but it took me forever to read. certain parts i found very enjoyable and well written and insightful without being pretentious or pedantic...those parts were great...and few. for most of it...i really had no idea what berger was trying to say or what was even really happening plot wise unless i read back to see where I was in the book. I feel bad givi ...more
Nasim
John Berger is always wonderful - there's not even any need to prove that - but I found this book immensely annoying. There was a lot of imprecision, at least in the parts dealing with Poland (I can't judge the rest). I appreciate the fact Berger introduces words of different languages to his books (thanks to this, you really feel like he's been and lived through what he's talking about), but honestly, one speaker of Polish could have got rid of all these mistakes in minutes. Berger sometimes us ...more
Frances Sawaya
This book was on a strict loan of one week from my art teacher who rarely lets it leave her side. Why have I never heard of the author before? What a treasure he is. The cover with the green gage plums is a treasure in itself. I enjoyed his tales from his travels, especially as I/we have been to many of the same places and seen, heard, tasted many of the same wonders. I am not big on quoting long passages from books so this one from the chapter "Islington" will suffice. "We simply became the Vas ...more
Cynthia Rosi
Berger brings people who are invisible and dead into the landscape where he's living, although he doesn't speak with the ghosts in the setting in which he knew them. He's in a place they never shared together, whether that's in England or abroad. If we take the book literally, we enter into his communion with the ghosts in his life: his mother, his lover, his schoolteacher, his headmaster. At the end of the book, something fills the outlines. It's Mirek's baby Olek. As Olek begins to take center ...more
Anna
Reading this was like eating a perfectly ripe mango while crying.
TinHouseBooks
Veronica Martin (Editorial Intern, The Open Bar): Barely back from the tropics and already I’m itching to travel again, this time to John Berger’s kind of city where the dead are as present as the living in Lisbon, Geneva, Madrid, Krakow. There is a mood to Here Is Where We Meet, this gem of a book by Berger, that holds a kind of wanderlust for the interim realm of the dead and the past and the in-between. And, I like to think—by way of that past tense, by it’s very momentary disconnect from the ...more
Debbie Robson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elmar
I've read the English pocket edition which has been published by Vintage International. John Berger's "Here is where we meet" is fiction at it's best and tells the stories of the narrator's encounters with people that are dead for a long time. And these people played an important role in the narrator's past. By the way, there are also translations of this book into German and other languages.

The book starts and ends with a talk that the narrator has with his dead mother. At different places in
...more
Lane Ashfeldt
Artist, Marxist art critic and author John Berger is likely to be best remembered as writer of the influential ‘Ways of Seeing’, a book and accompanying TV series dating to 1972. The book became a cornerstone of cultural studies theory and is, to this day, required reading at art schools and universities around the world. The fact that in the same year he received the Booker Prize for an experimental novel, ‘G’, is relatively overlooked, as is his acceptance speech in which he deplored literary ...more
orsodimondo
EFFETTO BERGER
Ero seduto su una panchina a leggere il mio libro.
Non mi sono accorto che un anziano signore si è seduto accanto a me.
Senza che io dicessi nulla, mi ha raccontato tutto intorno al libro che stavo leggendo, lo conosceva meglio di me che lo avevo in mano.
Mi ha consigliato che musica ascoltare mentre lo leggevo, che pittore ci sarebbe stato bene in copertina, che vino bere per festeggiarne la conclusione...
Parlava con calma, con gentilezza, senza alzare la voce, mi faceva sorrider
...more
Charlie Zoops
Being a painter, a drawing teacher and an art critic, The writing of John Berger can arrive to the reader as a form of composition, words stoked against the canvas of the page into a assemblage of beauty, which blends the colours of history, the deep contrasting tones of memory, and the brilliant illuminations that radiate off the lively people who inhabit them.
Often what emanates from John Berger's work is an ethical force, where creation takes on the role as a binding element which coheres the
...more
Editorial Alfaguara
En Lisboa, un hombre, John, encuentra a su madre sentada en un banco del parque. Ella r�e como una colegiala. Lleva muerta quince a�os. En un mercado de Cracovia, entre las verduras y las campesinas, reconoce a Ken, la persona m�s importante de su vida de los once a los diecisiete a�os. La misma complicidad existe todav�a entre los dos. La �ltima vez que se vieron fue hace cuarenta a�os. En la casa de Hubert en Islington, su compa�ero de la escuela de arte, John recuerda a una chica que conoci� ...more
Jennifer
Wonderful first chapter, set in one of my favorite cities (Lisbon), in which the protagonist meets up with his dead mother. It's just lovely, the way that they interact, not sappy, not too obvious, but just sort of picking up where they left off, despite the separation of death.

All the chapters are set in different cities, and all put the main character in contact with a deceased person from his past. The Cracow chapter is quite good...wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to have another beer, j
...more
Paul Secor
Billed as "A Fiction" on the cover, Here Is Where We Meet is a mixture of memories, ideas, and experiences with people the author has met in different places and at different times. The book begins with the narrator meeting his mother, who has been dead for 15 years, in Lisbon. She tells him to "do us (the dead) the courtesy of noticing us." From there, the book entails a visit to Geneva to meet with his daughter to visit Jorge Luis Borges' grave site; a visit to a old art school classmate who s ...more
Andrew
A wonderful writer. His talent is unquestionable and the story idea is wonderful--from place to place our narrator encounters the whimsical dead for a last conversation which has little, very little to do with death and everything to do with the reminder of the parts of others which they have given to us. We will always be able to see the world through the eyes of the people we love most, so why shouldn't they literally be with us there?

Without a narrative structure the book begins to lose itsel
...more
Joyce
As an artist I'm a big fan of John Berger. This book is delightful. Each section takes place in a different city: Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, London and Krackow and each of these the main person (the author himself) meets again with a dead person who had been very close to him in life. They discuss the close to heart issues they never talked about while they were living. Because he sees with an artist's eye, the descriptions of the cities and countryside are vivid and as colorful as paintings and if ...more
Zach
One of my favorite books of all time, with one of the greatest openings in English literature. A gem.
Ronan Mcdonnell
I am part-way through. There is a lovely moment I must note down.
The book is a fiction, wound around the details of the author's life. He meets his dead mother and tells her he working on an autobiography.
She advises him not to, he will get it wrong

______

I have now finished it.
It is a wonderful, melodic book. A quiet meditation on the unspoken minutiae of the details in our relationships. There is a gossamer melancholy throughout, a sense of the frailty of life and the bonds we form. But this sa
...more
Mehlika
okurken hayatın ancak anılarda böyle tatlı olabileceğine inandığınız bir kitap
Estelle
Such a good book, have to read it again!
Evita
this book is okay, not more.
Pam
having only read 'ways of seeing' long ago, didn't know berger's other genres...this is a tour de force, and his dialogues pass through each other in chapters on places (mostly) like fitful lights through smoke, a touch in the dark...history is a veil here, bearing up visitations with the ghosts of his mother in lisbon, his lovers in various places, his teachers, his responses to cro-magnon cave drawings, one painting (rembrandt the polish rider)...eager now to read his novels, not sure where to ...more
Nuala Woodham
Authors come and go. John Berger is here to stay. His books are driven by the secret hearts of people, by acute observation, by an absolute love of the written word and fuelled with a searing intelligence. This is what makes them so readable over and over again in the course of a lifetime. There is no weary plot to remember or forget. Just a feast of words on every page. When I whittle my library down to ten books at the end of days, John Berger will be among them.
Phoebe
Jul 25, 2007 Phoebe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All
So far, I adore this. And perfect timing. Kind of meta-fiction...

It's been years since I read "Ways of Seeing" for one of my art classes, and when a friend of mine got this for me, I was very excited to see something by Berger again.

It's an incredibly easy / fast read, and very interesting. There's not much subtext - it's pretty much all right there on the surface. Extremely accessible. Definitely makes me want to read more of his fiction.

Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
Ranging across Europe with settings in Lisbon, Krakow, London and elsewhere these stories recount the narrator’s meetings with the dead of his past. Married to this theme of movement via time and place is that of migrant populations, propelled by economic necessity or other kinds of searching. The intellectual nomadism of Berger’s novel is conveyed through writing that is both poignant and deeply sensual.
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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 G. To the Wedding And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

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“Everything in life, is a question of drawing a life, John, and you have to decide for yourself where to draw it. You cant draw it for others. You can try, of course, but it doesn't work. People obeying rules laid down my somebody else is not the same thing as respecting life. And if you want to respect life, you have to draw a line.” 18 likes
“So time doesn't count, and place does?' I said this to tease her. When I was a man, I liked teasing her and she went along with it, consenting, for it reminded us both of a sadness that had passed.” 8 likes
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