Mr. Brammer's Reviews > The Sot-Weed Factor

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
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's review
Oct 24, 2010

really liked it
Read from October 24 to November 21, 2010

There are many things to quibble about with Barth's hugely ambitious tale of Ebenezer Cooke - first of all, the number of coincidences that pile up at the end almost cause a narrative trainwreck - thankfully, the ending is satisfying without being pat. The Sot-Weed Factor is a satire of the big, wordy 18th Century novel, and references abound to Defoe, Jones and Sterne. Barth is not afraid to plumb the depths of scatological humor - there are many jokes involving bodily functions, and somewhat more problematic, rape. Even so, it would be prudish to mount a serious criticism of this novel - its sheer ambition and sense of fun are too disarming. This is required reading for all residents of Maryland - good luck trying to filter historical fact from fiction!

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