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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth. Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth. Barth's lively, highly original collection of short pieces is a major landmark of experimental fiction.

Though many of the stories gathered here were published separately, there are several themes common to them all, giving them new meaning in the context of this collection. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published March 1st by Anchor Books first published More Details Original Title. National Book Award Finalist for Fiction Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Lost in the Funhouse , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Lost in the Funhouse. May 30, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. Consider how dreadful so far: passionless, abstraction, pro, dis.

And it will get worse. Can we possibly continue? Better, that is, if you are into metafiction. Irony and Playfulness — The first-person narrator, we can call him John-John I have no shame as I just used this silly name in a previous John Barth review tells us directly how he is required to develop a plot and theme by getting down and dirty into some serious conflicts and complications.

Of course, big difference between talking about conflicts and actual conflicts, just as there is a big difference between reading about a fistfight and the reality of exchanging blows and coming home with a bloody nose.

The authors of metafiction have the smallest number of bloody noses per page compared with all other genres. No kidding — I did the counting myself. Pastiche — In postmodern literature, pasting together various genres or styles. Not to be outdone, John-John pastes together a story with digressions on grammar, direct addresses to the reader, William Faulkner swearwords, reflections on self-reflexive fiction-writing, among others.

And, by the way, in one of his other stories collected here, Menelaiad , an entire paragraph consists of quotation marks. Minimalism — As it turns out, this John Barth collection includes a life story compressed into fourteen pages and an autobiography boiled down into six pages.

Does it get any more minimal that that? One way minimalism can be defined is the manner in which an author will provide the barest descriptions and ask the reader to fill in the blanks. Again, not to be outdone, in Title , John-John asks us directly to fill in the blank at least once; and in other passages, we are asked indirectly to fill in the blanks.

By my latest count, I filled in the blank twenty-seven times. Maximalism — Thou shall leave no literary device unturned. But after tapping many the literary device in a string of doorstopper novels, he wanted to, by golly, get his fiction in those collections of short stories, the kind of books he always uses to teach from. Got to hand it to you Sir John, you are a maximalist with a vengeance! Metafiction — A close cousin with a story about a story, metafiction deals with writing about writing.

Somebody please stop me. As the dice below spell out, we have reached the end. I hope this short review provides enough information to enable a reader to judge if Lost in the Funhouse is your cupcake of tea. And that's "T" as in Title.

View all 11 comments. It was full of inter-textual and metafiction notes - in other words the author talking to himself about how the reader should or could interpret his works, his choices of words, his choices of plot devices, etc. There is no linear narrative other than a few chapters with the same character Ambrose and his own set of neuroses.

I can see why the book was a bit revolutionary - par Well, to be honest, I found this book to be almost as painful as La Disparition by Georges Perec reviewed here on GR. I can see why the book was a bit revolutionary - particularly in the hard to read section Menelaiad where he quotes inside of quotes inside of quotes and the Anonymiad which is again some belly-bottom writing about writing about writing. It was not really a pleasant read but as it was on the Yale Online Course "American Literature after ", I wanted to read it.

Not sure if other work by John Barth is more readable, but this book has certainly cured me of any curiosity I may have harboured. I can deal with intertextuality in DFW and to a degree in Gaddis or Pynchon, but in Barth it got to be as distracting as the missing 'e' in La Disparition. View all 8 comments. Shelves: its-not-you-its-meta-or-gfhrytyt , short-stories , moments-of-huh , mycents , testing-patience This is not a perfect series by any means and never meant to, especially with all those literary gymnastics, most of which ended in a nasty fall.

The title story of course is the biggest strength of this book, which is deftly handled with judicious mix of content, meta techniques, metaphorical significance and at the same time, is engaging enough to hold the interest of a reader. This is one piece which can be a good introduction for any Barth neophyte.

Apart from this, Night sea journey, Petition, Autobiography- A self recorded fiction, Title are few others which I enjoyed and the use of language in most of them is very impressive. After that begun the downfall of this book for me, not due to the lack of interesting elements but uninteresting subject matter with which, I could in no way had have connected. Read Greek Myths. The analysis of this particular story is much more interesting in my humble opinion.

With Life Story and Menelaiad came this huge tsunami of almost everything meta one can think of. I was mostly eager to jump to interesting fragments such as this: The reader! You, dogged, uninsultable, print-oriented bastard, it's you I'm addressing, who else, from inside this monstrous fiction. You've read me this far, then? Even this far? For what discreditable motive?

How is it you don't go to a movie, watch TV, stare at a wall, play tennis with a friend, make amorous advances to the person who comes to your mind when I speak of amorous advances? Can nothing surfeit, saturate you, turn you off? Where's your shame? A Smart Alec he is! But some were too much to digest. For example this: " ' " ' " 'Well. There is a brutal dissection of Punctuation marks going on in aforementioned text. I admire grammar but not that much.

In fact, some sources have claimed that the same self-reflection factor in his story Echo is used in a more creative way in The Sot-weed factor and Giles Goat-boy , which I shall definitely look forward to read.

This book- 3 Stars- I merely Liked it. View all 22 comments. May 19, Darwin8u rated it it was amazing Shelves: Once upon a time there was a review that began: B. Once upon a time there was a review that began a. He wrote a novel to himself. He doesn't care about you. He is not writing for you. He is not going to make you eat your short fiction or even make you shoot Chekhov's gun sitting on the fictional wall next to you.


Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth, 1968

Anyone that has taken a 20th-century American lit course has probably had to read something by Barth, and it was most likely the title story in this collection. Barth is known for his excessive meta-fictional devices and influence on writers, mentioned previously, like Pynchon, Wallace, and probably any serious postmodernist. The devices serve a purpose and are usually humorous. Unlike some postmodernists that came after him, Barth is very much concerned with art expressing a human experience mostly love. The beginning of the story describes the car trip. When they get there, Ambrose is nervous about how to interact with Magda. They go along the boardwalk until they come to a funhouse.


A Mind for Madness

John Barth is no doubt best known as a novelist, but his one collection of short stories, Lost in the Funhouse: Fiction for Print, Tape, Live Voice , is so startling in its virtuosity that Barth's place in the history of short fiction is also assured. In "Lost in the Funhouse" Ambrose travels to an amusement park on the Maryland shore with his parents, brother Peter, and Peter's girlfriend Magda. As the title suggests, Ambrose gets lost in the fun house. More important, by the end he realizes the direction he will henceforth take in reference to art—he will be a writer—and life, specifically in terms of sex and love.


Lost in the Funhouse

John Barth The title story is the centerpiece of the book. Most agree, however, that he succeeds in his declared intent to present old material in new ways. After graduating from public high school in , he enrolled in the prestigious Julliard School of music with dreams of becoming an arranger, or orchestrator. He soon shifted his interest, however, and enrolled in Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and began his lifelong involvement with literature and writing. By the time he had received his B. Barth continued at Johns Hopkins and received his M.


The main protagonist is 13 year old Ambrose who gets lost in the funhouse — any discerning reader would not have to work hard to see how a story of a pubescent teenage boy in the company of an uninterested teenage girl could find himself, both literally and metaphorically, lost in the funhouse. However, considered alongside the theories I have discussed on this website, another layer of interpretative reading materialises that, I believe, secures Barths postmodern presence within a much wider contextual standing. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. In a metaphorical mirror-room, the reader is presented with the same old familiar vision, an arbitrary intermediary that the author and reader fruitlessly partake in.

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