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2.79  ·  Rating details ·  255 Ratings  ·  66 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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Metropolitan Books
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(showing 1-30)
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This is an original and intriguing black comedy with roots in existentialist philosophy. I can't write a review that does it justice, so instead I will recommend this one by Antonomasia, who recommended the book to me last year:

On the surface and particularly in the early parts, it reads like a simple mid-life crisis novel with a feminist spin, but Kavenna is far too serious and philosophical for that to be a fair representation. It is just as much about
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Granta
[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
David Grieve
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Kelly Kapoor
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
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Jun 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
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May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
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).
Jun 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found large portions of the book really boring, its always Rosa what she is thinking about , how she feels ........... why i rated this book 3 because i thought she depicted the whole process of been depressed and how your thought keeps running in circles inside your head really well...... and how she moved on when she started loosing the emotional numbness and feeling hurt and sad.
Sep 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is one of the Saddest Things Ever when there is a book you loooove and you think, "at last, I have found true love! This author and I shall skip off to the hills together and each book we share shall be more glorious than the last!" It is no secret (and the reason it is no secret is because I rarely shut up about it) that Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna is really one of my favourite books, and I so I had such! high! hopes! for Inglorious. And did it deliver? No it did not. Consider me deva ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
This is a curious book, slow, but compelling. The plot is negligible, all but one of the characters slightly drawn, but the protagonist, Rosa Lane, a woman who sinks into depression and lassitude after the death of her mother is brightly realized, at once sympathetic and maddening. Rosa quits her job (quite an interesting one as a journalist with a sympathetic boss), is dumped by her partner and ends up out-staying her welcome with a succession of friends as she uses her credit card to get by. H ...more
Callie Carling
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
There are some books that you stumble across and think "gosh, life is too short to read poorly-written and poorly-edited books" ... and this sadly is one of them.

I really wanted to like it but poor editing on the opening paragraph set the scene ... by page 79, I gave up (very rare for me!).
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inglorious is Rosa's state of failure. She finds she can't go on the way she is, but it looks like she's irresponsibly giving up. She can't justify herself. She can't expect her acquaintances to understand her. Practical crises loom and bear down on her. Her partner reveals their relationship has been over for some time without her realising it. Her mother has died and her father is anxious and needy. She has lost emotional connection with her life and her surroundings in general.

But she wonder
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
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Aug 15, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Chuk Yong
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Feb 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Nov 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Is it a nervous breakdown or an existential crisis? Is there a difference? Hard to tell but I have to say I found myself getting bored and annoyed with the way the unfolding of this character's trauma was told - a sort of stream of consciousness in the third person. At times, I felt I was reading the author's notebook of observations and character sketches rather than an integrated narrative, which in my opinion doesn't really seem to get to grip with the characters so-called "crise". To be hone ...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 about Joanna Kavenna...

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“The following morning she realised they hated her. That hurt her feelings; she always preferred her hatred to be unreciprocated.” 1 likes
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