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Химера

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,003 ratings  ·  124 reviews
"Химера" е роман от три свободно свързани части - "Дунязадиад", "Персеида" и "Белерофонтиада", подобно на митичната Химера, съставена от три животни (обикновено комбинация от лъв, коза и змия).

Те разказват познатите истории на митичните герои Шахразад, Персей и Белерофонт, но най-вече за невъзможността за сантиментални, еротични и сериозни отношения между мъже и жени в бра
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Paperback, 350 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by Лист (first published 1972)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Darwin8u
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
"The truth about fiction is that Fact is a fantasy; the made-up story is a model of the world."
- John Barth, Chimera

Chimera

I seem to fall, often backwards into Barth. Chimera was on my radar, barely, but I didn't know much about it. So, I was lucky (I guess) to read it right after finishing Graves' The Greek Myths. Lucky stars or indulgent gods I guess.

Anywho, John Barth re+(tales|tails|tells) two Greek myths (and one Persian frame) into an anachronistic book of three novellas. Somewhat related, but s
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Vit Babenco
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand John Barth threshed with the flail of his imagination many folklore and mythological archetypes to trash.
Polyeidus had a daughter, who knows by whom. Sibyl. Younger than we. That summer she was our friend. Deliades adored her, she me. I screwed her while he watched, in a little grove down on the shore, by Aphrodite's sacred well. Honey-locusts grew there, shrouded by rank creepers and wild grape that spread amid a labyrinth of paths.

And on the other hand he sacrilegiously turned
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Jonfaith
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For her part (she would go on--what a wife was this!), she took what she was pleased to term the Tragic View of Marriage and Parenthood: reckoning together their joys and griefs must inevitable show a net loss, if only because like life itself their attrition was constant and their term mortal. But one had only different ways of losing, and to eschew matrimony and childrearing for the delights of less serious relations was in her judgment to sustain a net loss even more considerable.

A number of
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Delusions of Demi-Godlike Grandeur

In this collection of three chimerical novellas, the middle-aged “author” indulges his fantasies of virility and fears of impotency in the garb and guise of “Tales of 1001 Nights” and Greek mythological tales. As an exercise in “belletristic masturbation”, it’s more flop than master stroke:

"To the artist himself, however minor his talent, imaginative potency is as crucial to the daily life of his spirit as sexual potency..."

Dunyazadiad (as Retold by John Barth i
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nostalgebraist
This is a stupid book.

John Barth has admirable goals (rejuvenating the novel) and an precise, musical command of language. But his one fatal flaw is his inability to get outside his own head. He aims for mythic significance, but the cosmic scope of his stories keeps getting mixed together with the very un-cosmic matter of John Barth, 20th century American writer, trying to think of words to put on the page. This manifests itself most obviously in two ways: his metafictional bent (he likes to wri
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Adrian Deans
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, quite simply, one of the best novels I’ve read.

Modern readers will miss some of its texture as it needs to be understood within its proper context. This book came out of the Novel is Dead debates of the late 60s and early 70s and can be partly interpreted as a shot across the bows on behalf of the Novel Is Still Alive and Kicking crew.

For starters, it was an experiment in form – three intertwined novellas adding up to a novel worth way more than its parts. Then there was the playing wit
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Simon Robs
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barthian "treatments" of mythological mainstays - and ends up himself, he the myth after all.
Nathan Jerpe
This was a hoot - three linked novellas each drawn from much older traditions, one from The Arabian Nights and two from Greek mythology (the careers of Perseus and Bellerophon, respectively). There's too much deconstructionist wankery in here for me, personally; I'm not all that interested in theories of narrative, texts that are aware of themselves, et cetera, and the author's occasional appearances in his own story come off as indulgent, but then again... a chimera is after all a conjunction o ...more
Aiden Heavilin
dnf - not a big fan of mythology or metafiction so it appears CHIMERA and I were not meant to be together. Ah, it's alright, Mr. Barth, THE FLOATING OPERA was fantastic and I'll be reading END OF THE ROAD and SOT-WEED soon.
Fox
Well, here is another book that I have owned forever and just now got around to reading fully. This requires a bit of background.

The first time I started reading Chimera I got through the first novella, and gave up halfway through the second. The second time, I got a tad bit further... this time, I nearly gave up through the third story. Nonetheless, I did plow through. Yes, that is the right terminology. Plowed through. Finishing Chimera felt a bit like one of the 12 tasks of Hercules, unfortun
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Albert
Chimera is my first introduction to John Barth. It consists of three interrelated novellas, the first based on 1001 Arabian Nights and the other two based on Greek mythology. Chimera was also, I believe, my first introduction to meta fiction, where part of the story being told is the creation of the story. There is a lot going on here, a lot to get your head around, and I will be the first to admit I only comprehended some of it.

Let's start with the basics, though. When John Barth is just telli
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Krys
Jun 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, lit majors
I don't even know really where to begin with this book, except to say that it is the epitome of "meta-" if there ever was one. Judging by what I've read about Barth's other works, "meta-" seems to be his thing.

In Chimera, he retells 1001 Nights, the myth of Perseus, and the myth of Bellepheron with the intention of exploring why we continue to study the myths while simultaneously recasting them in a post-freudian language that tries to flesh out how such things could actually come to pass (which
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Stuart
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very mixed bag for me. The first of the three parts is beautiful, funny, witty and insightful. It's also by far the shortest and most successful. Part two, focused on Perseus, is an enjoyable little romp, if perhaps not as poignant as the opening story and certainly not as tightly written. Part three, however, is what knocks stars off my ranking for this book, as Barth launches into a cascade of silliness and post-modern literary pyrotechnics that, while intellectually stimulating ...more
Stewart Mitchell
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read Barth I find myself absolutely giddy with the feeling that anything is possible within the pages of a book. No higher compliment exists for an author; very few writers can make their readers feel like this.
Jason
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we talk about postmodern literature and metafiction, it would appear at first that we are talking about a fairly low-stakes arena of activity. Most often we are. Barth at his best, however, takes metafiction to a place of wild cosmological insight. And Chimera is emphatically Barth at his best. We are looking at text. Three texts. The idea of metafiction is to approach the text as text. But a text is a thing in itself as well as a nest of contexts. Contexts that reach across time and space. ...more
Marc
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've started my Barth-reading with LETTERS and proceeded backwards to this one, and can conclude that I love him in full on meta-fictive/structural complexity-mode (which not everyone seems to favour, judging from the reviews on this one here on GR.)

The book consists of two perfectly composed (and very different) short stories and one quite insane novella so densely intertwined I would more or less count this as a novel in three parts. The first shorter ones are great in themself, but it is the
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Sharyl
This is a meta-book connecting three novellas, all three of which are rewritten versions of ancient stories: The Thousand and One Nights, followed by the Greek myths of Perseus, then Bellerophon. There is more than one narrator, and sometimes there is some comic disagreement about whose story it is, anyway. This is clever and very amusing, though in my humble opinion, there were parts that went on a bit long--but then, the author does seem to be pointing out that--some tales do go on too long.

I
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Paul
If the collected works of Barth, Mailer, Roth, Updike, etc., were launched into the sun tomorrow I'm pretty sure the world would be better off. There's just something about this "playfully chauvinistic sex-obsessed American male writer who peaked in the 1960s-1970s" thing that is incredibly offputting. Obviously Barth isn't precisely aligned with this group, but he's certainly reminiscent of them.

I sincerely doubt that even Barth himself thought this book was actually funny or clever in any way
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Anastasia
Dunyazadiad - 4/5
Perseid - 3/5
Bellerophoniad - not finished.
*Read for class.

Okay, lemme explain. I've read this for my class and I didn't have time to finish it before I got spoiled the last part, ahah, so I'm not gonna finish Bellerophoniad. However, I will consider this read because I do know what happened and I really wanna talk a little about the first two parts.

The story told by Dunyazad, Sheherazada's little sister, was my favorite. I loved how the author included himself and complicate
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sean
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
i'm still going to try the sot-weed factor someday, but from what i've read of barth so far, he is very... not for me. not that he needs my readership: a lot of people much smarter than me love this guy (michael silverblatt, a hero, once called him his favourite living american writer), and i have to believe they see something in him that i simply don't. but the horny classics professor persona in this and the first few chapters of giles goat-boy were enough to send me running, and i think it's ...more
David
I’ve seen all the rave reviews, the shared National Book Award, the various scholarly and less scholarly exegeses about the magnificence of this book. It remains for me after all this time Barth’s least successful work. I don’t know what it is I’m not getting, or why I don’t react to it as I “should,” but it doesn’t engage me. Oddly enough, the bits which draw my most interested attention are those alluding to the novel in progress (at the time), LETTERS, which I also find, hard to like in its o ...more
Conrad
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irrefutably brilliant but this poor reader had difficulties following the complex narrative structure.
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Ok, the 1st review in the front of my copy (actually a paperback) is from Playboy, the 2nd is from Cosmopolitan. Playboy is hardly representative of my idea of sexual politics.. & neither is Cosmo: to the editors of the latter: How many times can you rehash X # of tips for pleasing yr man? Really, it's sickening. Let's just FUCK, shall we? Remember INSTINCT for fuck's sake?!

ANYWAY, at 1st I was disappointed by this: I've just recently read "The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor" by Barth & giv
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Mary Overton
“‘Mythology is the propaganda of the winners,’” (277) says Anteia, sister-in-law to mythic hero Bellerophone who kills the monster Chimera.
And Perseus, heroic slayer of Medusa, muses: “‘No man’s a mythic hero to his wife.’” (87)

In this mash-up of myth, John Barth applies shape-shifting magic to the concept of story-telling in general and the Heroic Journey in particular. It takes lots of background knowledge to enjoy the book … not JUST Scheherazade and Greek myth and Joseph Campbell/Robert McK
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Geoffrey Fox
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No better way to ponder structural conventions of narrative. Also a very funny book." This was my note in 1984, when I was reading Barth, Pynchon, Barthelme and others to discover new ways of writing as I worked on my first, still unpublished, novel.
"Chimera" is not so much a novel as an examination of itself, about how stories including this one are constructed — as New York Times reviewer Leonard Michaels summed up, "it consists of three parts retelling three ancient myths (the stories of Sc
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Mark
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'We need a miracle, Doony...and the only genies I've ever met were in stories, not in Moorman's rings and Jew's Lamps. It's in words that the magic is- Abracadabra, Open Sesame, and the rest- but the magic words in one story aren't magical in the next. The real magic is to understand which words work, and when, and for what. The trick is to learn the trick.'

Too clever by half. I wonder if it is too bawdy to be post-modern, whatever that means. Writing about writing isn't necessarily meta-; Then
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Peter
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Barth's Chimera is a playful, oblique set of three linked novellas. I have a fondness for Scheherazade/The Thousand and One Nights, so the Dunyazadiad was a perfect literary appetizer. It's fun, thoughtful, well crafted and easily accessible. I recommend it to anyone who loves reading. Beyond that, the novellas become increasingly obtuse, more analytical and more rewarding. That being written, the Perseid is a mostly straight forward examination of middle-aged mythic hero stuck in a rut. Th ...more
Alyssa
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"I'm full of voices, all mine, none me."

This book is a work of absolute genius. Love it or hate it, no one could deny that Barth's mind is astonishing. Chimera's complex layering, nesting, spiraling, and spinning, its stories-within-stories-within-stories, its use of palimpsest, pastiche, and collage will leave me reeling for days.

A deliciously mind-bending piece of metafiction that will make you think about myth, narrative, and the self in entirely new ways.

Larry Ggggggggggggggggggggggggg
Extremely good and funny book
Madeline W
Only got to pg 113... I like storytelling and myth, but Barth's style and attention to sex didn't work for me.
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John Simmons Barth is an American novelist and short-story writer, known for the postmodernist and metafictive quality of his work.

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).
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