Monday, June 7, 2010

The Floating Opera and The End of the Road by John Barth

This is a collection of John Barth's first two short novels. The Floating Opera is written from the perspective of the main character Todd Andrews, on the day he has decided to commit suicide. However, in the first pages it is disclosed that this day took place 16 years earlier, thus revealing that Todd did not end up commiting suicide after all. Despite taking all of the suspense out of it right away, you get to read about drunken sea captains, love triangles, legal disputes, and so on.

The End of the Road
also involves a love triangle, but with a much darker outcome. It takes place on a college campus, but the academic setting is rather incidental to the plot. In fact, the whole plot is rather incidental to the philosophical themes that Barth is trying to tackle.

I read The End of the Road first, for a college class, and I recall preferring that one to The Floating Opera. But this is yet another instance where I'd be curious to go back and re-read each of them.

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