B S Johnson The Unfortunates

ISBN 13: 9780330353298

The Unfortunates

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9780330353298: The Unfortunates
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A sports journalist, sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment, finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the railway station. Memories of one of his best, most trusted friends, a tragically young victim of cancer, begin to flood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a football match.

B. S. Johnson’s famous ‘book in a box’, in which the chapters are presented unbound, to be read in any order the reader chooses, is one of the key works of a novelist now undergoing an enormous revival of interest. It is a book of passionate honesty and dark, courageous humour: a meditation on death and a celebration of friendship which also offers a remarkably frank self-portrait of its author.

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BS Johson's infamous book-in-a-box is, if remembered at all, notorious for its presentation rather than its content. The "book" consists of a first and last section plus 25 other chapters, each one coming as a self-contained "pamphlet", that can be read in any order the reader likes. The subject matter concerns a journalist's day covering a football match in Nottingham, remembering previous times spent in the city with a lover now gone and a friend now dead. The innovative format permits Johnson to echo the random thought processes of his protagonist--the associations and reminiscences bubbling up in no fixed order as he walks through the city, watches and reports on the match and returns home afterwards.

However, it is the quality of the writing and the affecting, deeply personal narrative that should be stressed, and is so often forgotten, when discussing Johnson's most moving work. Jonathan Coe's informative introduction explains the origins of this (semi-)autobiographical work and situates it as a forerunner to hugely successful books by the likes of Ruth Picardie and John Diamond. Certainly this conveys what an emotionally engaged book The Unfortunates is, and is a useful rejoinder to the barely veiled negativism of the charge of being avant-garde, but it doesn't place Johnson alongside the peers with whom he should be judged. Johnson is a writer in the league of Beckett and William S Burroughs, an experimentalist but one whose humanity, and sheer skill, shine through. The Unfortunates, the book he wrote as a response to his friend Tony Tillinghast's death, on the back of a promise to him to "get it all down, mate," is a wonderfully honest book about friendship and loss. That it comes in a box should not blind us to the fact that as a writer Johnson was peerless and as a novel this is truly first-rate. --Mark Thwaite

Review:

An interesting, strange book-all the stranger...that it's nearly 40 years old and feels fresh as last Tuesday.

This book, with no belief in God, no hope of heaven, makes you feel the stuff of life as sacred. -- Charles Taylor

The Top Ten Books. "You'll fall in love with...the honest, human portrait...of a friend dying of cancer."

-- Sam Anderson

His most daring work. The book's design mirrors...a mind trying to comprehend the complexity of human loss. -- Thomas McGonigle

Generous in its characterization and emotional engagement...uncomfortably honest, wholly unpretentious autobiography. -- John Lingan

His writing is emotionally forthright, even if it is formally refracted. Excellent introduction written by Jonathan Coe. -- Linden Park

A most gifted author.--Samuel Beckett

A most gifted author. --Samuel Beckett

A most gifted author. --Samuel Beckett"

You ll fall in love. --Sam Anderson ""Top Ten Books of 2008" ""

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B. S. Johnson
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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A sports journalist, sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment, finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the railway station. Memories of one of his best, most trusted friends, a tragically young victim of cancer, begin to flood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a football match. B. S. Johnson s famous book in a box , in which the chapters are presented unbound, to be read in any order the reader chooses, is one of the key works of a novelist now undergoing an enormous revival of interest. It is a book of passionate honesty and dark, courageous humour: a meditation on death and a celebration of friendship which also offers a remarkably frank self-portrait of its author. Seller Inventory # AA79780330353298

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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A sports journalist, sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment, finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the railway station. Memories of one of his best, most trusted friends, a tragically young victim of cancer, begin to flood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a football match. B. S. Johnson s famous book in a box , in which the chapters are presented unbound, to be read in any order the reader chooses, is one of the key works of a novelist now undergoing an enormous revival of interest. It is a book of passionate honesty and dark, courageous humour: a meditation on death and a celebration of friendship which also offers a remarkably frank self-portrait of its author. Seller Inventory # AA79780330353298

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Johnson, B S
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Book Description Picador, 1999. Condition: New. 1999. First Thus. Hardcover. One of the lost classics of the 1960s -- and a legendary experiment in form -- is here reissued for the first time in thirty years Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 201 x 120 x 30. Weight in Grams: 406. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780330353298

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Book Description Picador. Condition: New. 1999. First Thus. Hardcover. One of the lost classics of the 1960s -- and a legendary experiment in form -- is here reissued for the first time in thirty years Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 201 x 120 x 30. Weight in Grams: 406. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780330353298

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