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Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons
John Barth stays true to form in <i>Every Third Thought, </i> written from the perspective of a character Barth introduced in his short story collection <i>The Development.</i> George I. Newett and his wife Amanda Todd lived in the gated community of Heron Bay Estates until its destruction by a fluke tornado. This event, Newett notes, occurred on the 77th anniversary of the 1929 stock market ...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Counterpoint LLC
(first published January 1st 2011)
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Books written by someone when they were over the age of 65
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A pleasant, meandering read, with excusable but noticeable flaws - Barth's last book, a very conscious, strange swan song. Minor, and more fascinating for what it is than what's in it.<br /><br /> I wrote about it at length for Public Books, but have never linked to that essay here: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.publicbooks.org/the-literature-of-exhaustion-on-john-barths-last-novel/" rel="nofollow">https://www.publicbooks.org/the-liter...</a>
John Barth is one of the only writers that always succeeds in bringing about an unabashed feeling of love in me. I love his work for many different reasons, but the primary one is that it makes me love language and storytelling - to see them as magical gifts of the muse, of some divine spirit, of humanity . . . but who really cares where the gift comes from? <br /><br />Every Third Thought, as in almost every Barth book since the seminal The Sot-Weed Factor, is chock-full of postmodern techniques, deconstructive ...more
Every godsdamn Barth Book.<br><br><a href="http://s1298.photobucket.com/user/Nathan_NR_Gaddis/media/DSCN2474_zps9573ed22.jpg.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> <img src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/hostedimages/1380391629i/754169._SX540_.jpg" alt="All the Godsdamn Barth photo DSCN2474_zps9573ed22.jpg" class="gr-hostedUserImg"></a><br><br>I've read them all. Beginning back in 1996 with <i>On With the Story</i> followed ten years later by the discovery of <i>The Sot-Weed Factor</i> and the rest is now History.<br><br>Pending Completionism in 2013 :: Alexander Theroux (2 remaining); William Gaddis (one); David Foster Wallace (really only the rap book outstanding). 2014 will doubtless see more Completionism.<br><br>Meanwhile, about the magic of story telling with Barth der Erzhler, I highly recommend Friend Paul's review of the present ...more
I loved this. Loved, loved, loved it. This may be, I realize, more a reaction to my 30-year love affair with John Barths work than to the objective merits of this particular book. But I had a blast reading it, and its my rating, so Im giving it 5 out of 5. <br /><br />This is my 14th Barth book, so clearly I appreciate what it is he does. Every Third Thought is not up there with the great mid-career/mid-century masterpieces such as The Sot-Weed Factor and Chimera, which would not be 5s, but would blow past ...more
I'm no Barth scholar, but ten years ago, I was charmed and touched by his rambling postmodern The Floating Opera, a book he wrote in the mid-twentieth century. Like Pynchon and Kafka, he was ahead of his time. His meta-fiction wasn't just for show and self-indulgence; the wink-wink and digressing were salient to the themes, and showcased the sophistry of righteous absolutes (and its contradictions). It was an intellectual frolic into the act of writing itself, with a tender touch of comic genius. ...more
John Barth is masterful with language. Even if you do not care for the plot or the characters, you continue to read because his sentences are filled with wordplay, puns, innuendos, and witticisms. Each of his sentences feels like I am unrolling a poster that had been rolled in storage for years. I open the poster and as soon as I see what the poster is, it rolls back in on itself. There are sometimes, you get enough in just the one glance, but many times, you end up unrolling the poster again, to ...more
I haven't sat down and taken my time to write a full review in while,usally because I dive right into reading the next book, but damn can Barth craft some nice sentences, he does with an effortless ease of a true master, words that last, there's a seen in which two inspiring writers watch divers and comment that the divers act of diving is life, some do flips and stunts, some just dive feet first, some make big splashes while others barley splash at all.
Unintentionally arrived at three nonegenarians on my readlist (Saramago, Garcia-Marquez, & Barth) and this was the only book I'd recommend. It's Barth's usual schtick in a maybe-memoir about a lost friend and found love. It reminded me of David Markson's 'Last Novel' in its power to tickle and move simultaneously.
can't remember who it was who described Barth's writing as "self-consuming meta-fiction", but it definitely fits. But in a good way. This book, like some others before it (e.g., Once Upon a Time), narrates the fictional story of the writing of the book itself. The narrator, George I. Newett, is writing the book to complete the work of his lost friend, Ned Prosper, who may or may not have existed (within the story). You can't tell whether the story is being drawn from real life or real life is being ...more
Not one of my favorite books but I did seem to keep coming back for more. John is obviously a very intelligent man as is shown in his writing. But I found that his sometimes page long sentences, though extremely descriptive, at times just seemed as though he was rambling on. They were full of thoughts and sub thoughts as though he was trying to get a point across, which he did. At times I wondered, "When Wil this sentence just end?" That being said, I did enjoy this book, recommended by Neil Peart ...more
Distilled Barth; Barth in essence. <i>Every Third Thought</i> tells a familiar story, shot through the familiar lens of Barth-concerns old and new. There's nothing here that's new to Barth-followers - the academic writer, his younger wife and soulmate, the Maryland tidewater, the concerns of ageing, the nature of fiction, the referencing of Scheherazade and Shakespeare, the Barth style, all twisted logic and curlicued sentences.<br /><br />And yet.<br /><br />And yet, everything's new here. The characters - rescued from their ...more
Not gonna spend too much time on this little treasure. I began reading Barth earlier last year with <i>Lost in the Funhouse</i> (which I still haven't completely finished but am so dumbfounded by the tricks that I had to give it a break. <br /><br />This novel, <i>Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons</i> is John Barth's latest. It's a postmodern book with a few stories within the stories, within the stories. And, it's kind of cool the way he morphs the stories that his protagonist is writing about to join with the ...more
When I look back over the Barth bibliography, I find that there have been a lot of hits and misses. There was often always a charm to his writing, it's witticisms and historical perspective, but the weaker works, like most of the more recent books and even his gigantic tome (yes, that's saying a lot) LETTERS, Just make for a lot of redundancy and spotlighting of some of Barth's personal obsessions. But even in the great books, where these things still abound, there was at least a sense of reading ...more
I was a Barth virgin; now ... well I think I still am, even if not technically. Wow, this book... as challenging as Pynchon, but without the sneer, Every Third Thought was unlike anything I've ever read, even though it's plot (was there a plot?) was just about an old guy writing a book. But at the same time, it was about living and dying and marriage and LAST things. That sentiment of "last" things (last day of school, last summer before X, etc), I don't know, at 27 I sometimes feel like I'm already ...more
John Barth, I used to love you but I think it's time to end our relationship and I'm sorry. Maybe it's me, and not you, but it's really difficult to read your navel-gazing writing style (self-indulgent, self-reflective, too many inside jokes, too much "OFF" language, and frankly sex scenes that aren't that sexy) especially after having a head injury. Thus is the irony, as Every Third Thought's pivotal moment is the author's knock to the head when missing a step in Stratford upon Avon, which theoretically ...more
For past two or three years it's the second author (after Jay Rayner's "Apologist") whose books i'd say dance anymore.<br />First of all, 'course, terrible stair-step translation into russian by Sergey Ilyin. But to hell with him)<br />Second is uselessness of memoir-phormed (memoirmorphic) presentation with Post-romantic (author used this term, so don't blame me) officially infantile exhibition.<br />Third - it is too long and affectionate to truly touch subconsciousness, and too short and ragged to pick a thought ...more
Even his weaker fiction is still worth reading, and this is not one of his top efforts (the fellow is eighty-something after all), but I still enjoyed it. The best part by far is the last thirty or so pages. Very interesting ending indeed. And since this is a sort-of sequel to his previous book _The Development_, it is also interesting too see what happened to one couple after the devastating tornado/hurricane/whatever it was that knocked out that titular gated community.
Shakespeare. Puns. Age-old and old-age wisdom. Sex. True Love (there it is again, what a roll!). Current events. Life and death. Did someone say meta-fiction? Or, as Barth calls it, post-mortem fiction. In 182 pages. That's what I call Creative Rotting. Delightful. For those seeking details, google James Greer's LA review of books piece from may 24, 2012. <br /><br />What he said. And Barth wrote.
A strange book. I'm not familiar with John Barth's writing, so I didn't know what to expect. The style is very streamlined, fast-flowing; the story is not so much told as woven, so that the reader assembles the threads as he or she goes. I won't spoil it, but the last chapter will stay with me for the rest of my life.
It was a struggle, but worth it. In the end, I was pleased to have read the difficult prose. I was challenged throughout the book, both in style and content. '<br /><br />On the last page the tears fell freely from my cheeks. Cheeky bastard Barth for catching me unaware of how many heartstrings he had gathered up before leaping out the beyond the back cover of the book. <br /><br /><br /><br />
John Simmons Barth is an American novelist and short-story writer, known for the postmodernist and metafictive quality of his work.<br /><br />John Barth was born in Cambridge, Maryland, and briefly studied "Elementary Theory and Advanced Orchestration" at Juilliard before attending Johns Hopkins University, receiving a B.A. in 1951 and an M.A. in 1952 (for which he wrote a thesis novel, The Shirt of Nessus). ...more