"John Metcalf comes as close to the baffling, painful comedy of human experience as a writer can get."—Alice MunroSet in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Ottawa, the stories in this collection span the life of writer Robert Ford and his wife Sheila. Playing with various forms of comedy throughout, Metcalf paints a portrait of twentieth-century literary life with levity"John Metcalf comes as close to the baffling, painful comedy of human experience as a writer can get."—Alice MunroSet in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Ottawa, the stories in this collection span the life of writer Robert Ford and his wife Sheila. Playing with various forms of comedy throughout, Metcalf paints a portrait of twentieth-century literary life with levity, satire, and unsuspecting moments of emotional depth.John Metcalf is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including Standing Stones: Selected Stories, Adult Entertainment, Going Down Slow, and Kicking Against the Pricks....
|Title||:||The Museum at the End of the World|
|Number of Pages||:||372 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Museum at the End of the World Reviews
Two novellas and two shorter works comprise The Museum at the End of the World, which features John Metcalf’s erudite, beleaguered and occasionally inebriated alter-ego Robert Forde, who last appeared in the novella Forde Abroad. It’s nice to see Forde still casting a jaundiced eye upon a world that mystifies, disappoints and occasionally offends. “Medals and Prizes” covers Forde’s entire life: his formative years as a jazz-smitten teenager growing up in 1950s England, his college years and his decision to emigrate, his first teaching job in Montreal, and his later life as an elder statesman of Canadian letters being awarded the Order of Canada. In “Ceazar Salad,” Forde is smarting from a hostile review of his recent novel. Venturing out of the house to do some errands, he encounters more that drives him to distraction, beginning with an epidemic of ungrammatical signage that nobody else seems to notice or care about. In “The Lives of the Poets,” Forde is committed to a long-term sentence as Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick, where once again there is much to try his patience. And the title story finds Forde and his wife Sheila on a bus tour of the Black Sea and environs, where Forde, ever alert to the world’s absurdities, amuses himself by observing the squalid state of everything around him and remarking playfully upon the eccentric behaviour of his fellow travelers. The comedy is boisterous, the humour drawn in broad strokes. But the stories also display an endearing wistfulness, reminding us that Robert Forde, despite the grievances and railing and howling into the void, is a thinking, feeling human being. The Museum at the End of the World, coming to us late in the author’s career, is a gift for which we can be grateful and provides confirmation that Robert Forde and John Metcalf have not mellowed one bit.
I used my DNF this month on The Museum at the End of the World by John Metcalf, not to be confused with John Metcalfe. I liked the first story okay, but the writing style was extremely confusing and I had a hard time getting into the story at all. It was the kind of book I couldn't focus on at all and yet I was extremely reluctant to actually DNF it. In the end, I just put it down and never picked it back up again. Can't say I'm too sad about that, even if it does have a really great title.Read more like this review on my blog, http://www.bookwormbasics.blogspot.com
So weird I had to give it a rest for awhile. It's going on the top shelf.
How appropriate for this highly literary work that I selected it more or less at random from the shelf of my local public library. This collection that includes a novella and related stories focuses on author Robert Forde from his youth as a jazz-obsessed public school boy in England, through his university years in Canada, to his adult experiences and travels as a snobbish but struggling writer. The stories serve to showcase Forde's (and Metcalf's) astonishing erudition - he is a man for whom a single word or image or smell triggers recitations of verse, but also one who enjoys a good fart joke. My favorite bits included a road trip to New Orleans in which Forde and his friends have their jazz bubble burst by the seedy, commercialized acts on display in the French Quarter; and an extended story in which Forde plays host to the elderly granddaughter of a deceased Canadian poet and the two of them engage in an escalating battle of literary allusion and critique, including a hilarious riff on how Shakespeare really should have ended Macbeth's verse about blood on the word "incarnadine," calling the final line "Making the green one red" a bunch of "hokum." In a way, the stories are all depictions of a very well-read and highly educated man seeking, and largely failing to find, a truly authentic experience in a world that does not live up to his standards and expectations.