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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 f. ‘ How can I place his order his disintegration’Through fragments of a randomized collection of memories called up while wandering through a city the reader explores the life loves and losses of the narrator As such a premise would remind many of Ulysses and Joyce’s incredible use of the stream of consciousness BS Johnson 1933 1973 manages to create something uniue and inventive with The Unfortunates His story is separated into 27 packets which are intended to be read at random aside from the First and Last chapter and allows for a creative artificial impression for the act of memory and thought The random approach which may initially be dismissed as cutesy and gimmicky manages to go deeper and beyond the gimmick and explore the implied meanings we place upon order In the Hungarian translation of the book which was published as a regularly bound novel Johnson included a special introduction urging the reader to still experience the chapters at random stressing that ‘ perhaps the pointof the novel in it’s original format; the tangible metaphor for the way the mind works’ By randomly selecting the order each reader is given an opportunity for a personal experience of the novel The form itself is a larger explanation of form In the context of the story we experience his memories out of chronological order much like how we experience our own sets of memories In the context of the form it examines how order affects our understanding and meaning In my own personal reading Johnson the narrator is a potentially fictional version of the actual author spent much of the present eating and referring to vague moments of him and his desceased friend Tony eating in the city It wasn’t until the penultimate packet that I actually experienced the fleshed out memory This gives an impression that this memory was somehow of extreme importance to Johnson and was possibly suppressed in his mind until he could properly deal with it at the end It is a statement on the way I have been conditioned to approach novels; I noticed that the final few packets had a subtle sense of greater intensity as I typically expect the final sections of a novel to be where themes tie together and where the climax of plot should be Had the luck of the draw given an entire different plot point near the end the food scene would likely have seemed less crucial and the different point would have been garnished with this implied intensity While this is a short book much of the information is rather repetitive which allows it to not only to seem to fit together well regardless of order but positions the reader to different vantage points on memories Depending on which view of an event the reader experiences first – Johnson when in one memory will refer to events in later or earlier memories and then have another packet pertaining directly to the memory provides a subtly different meaning to the narrative Sometimes you have forshadowing sometimes just a simple revisit of an earlier idea‘ Anything means something if you impose meaning on it which in itself is a meaningless thing the imposition’ writes Johnson He draws are attentions through the form to our impressions and imposed meanings but also dismisses them all as meaningless Perhaps our explanations on the form don’t matter at all and the random order serves as an elaborate distraction when all he really wants to get across is the workings of the mind ‘ How the mind arranges itself tries to sort things into order is perturbed if things are not worted’ he muses as he sorts threw the mental shoebox of strewn about memories There is plenty of evidence to support that this is the real impression he wants to get across as the style of writing is rambling with extensive use of commas breaks to rep

REVIEW The Unfortunates

The UnfortunatesLood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a football matchB 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. I'm a sucker for gimmicky books so when I saw this book in a box no one had to twist my arm to get me to purchase it and I'm glad I did Unlike some of the other gimmicky books I've read House of Leaves The Raw Shark Texts you don't get the impression that BS Johnson was patting himself on the back for being clever as he wrote this If the introduction is to be believed he actually probably was patting himself on the back as he wrote it but you wouldn't know it to read it The chapters of the book are unbound and meant to be shuffled and with the exception of the first and last chapters read in a random order in an attempt to translate the non linear nature of memories into a written format It sounds gimmicky and it is but it's a gimmick that works really well especially given the stream of conciousness writing style and the nature of the story which is a collection of BS Johnson's memories of a friend of his who had died of cancer Not a terribly uplifting subject obviously but it's handled with aplomb it's sad but not in a maudlin fashion This is easily one of the best books I've read this year second only to If on a winter's night a traveller

B.S. Johnson ï 8 READ

READ The Unfortunates ´ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF È ➧ [Ebook] ➢ The Unfortunates By B.S. Johnson ➲ – 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 mOf a novelist now undergoing an enormous revival of interest The Unfortunates 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 auth. Okay this was a book I should have read a long time ago and I finally read the content is 4 stars the structure is 3 stars lets talk form first I respect the avant garde thing of splitting up the book However content wise the book has two pieces memory and present The memories are these cool intermixed first fiancéewife and his friend dying and the association of the two also memories of his first 2 novels In comparison with present day Ginnie being a reporter and his son this all works really well except that the form messes up the present day content that has an obvious order The memories are great mixed up however the present memories need to be structured My solution make a book that is in order and memories that are then inserted into the book