Where Three Roads Meet: Novellas (.)
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The first novella, "Tell Me," explores a callow undergraduate's initiation into the mysteries of sex, death, and the Heroic Cycle. The second novella, "I've Been Told," traces no less than the history of storytelling and examines innocence and modernity, ignorance and self-consciousness. And the three elderly sisters of the third novella, "As I Was Saying . . . ," record an oral history of their youthful muse-like services to (and servicings of) a subsequently notorious and now mysteriously vanished novelist.
Sexy, humorous, and brimming with Barth's deep intelligence and playful irreverence, Where Three Roads Meet will surely delight loyal fans and draw new ones.
John Barth is the author of numerous works of fiction, including The Sot-Weed Factor, The Tidewater Tales, Lost in the Funhouse, The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, the National Book Award winner Chimera, and most recently The Book of Ten Nights and a Night. He taught for many years in the writing program at Johns Hopkins University.
"Teller, tale, torrid . . . inspiration: Barth's seventeenth book brings these three narrative 'roads' together inimitably, and thrice. [Where Three Roads Meet] employs all of his familiar devices -- alliteration, shifts in diction and time, puns -- to tease and titillate, while at the same time articulate -- obliquely, sadly, angrily, gloriously -- a farewell to language and its objects: us." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
designed primarily to satisfy the Procrustean requirements of curriculum planners and to compensate for indifferent classroom teaching. "So what are we doing here?" Win asked Will, taking his hand in hers on the uptown bus ride home a few days into their joint preceptorships. "Who the fuck do we think we are?" As to the first of those questions, it was Al Baumann's subsequently delivered opinion that in time-honored 3F fashion they were exploring moral ambiguities, experimenting with ethical
parameters, honing their language and editorial skills, and scoring two dollars apiece per hour, all to the end of clarifying, if not necessarily answering, Question Two. "More to the point," Will in turn asked Winnie as that pair sat hip to hip on his Murphy-bed edge in Briarwood 204 after their two-hour gig at the Trivium at the close of that same April Friday evening, about to consummate his sexual initiation and (he supposed with guilty excitement) her first sexual infidelity, and she
And over thisaway or that? Don't ask me, folks; I'm a stranger here myself. And then one day...nothing happened? Nah, that was yesterday. Too many yesterdays. And then one day...a certain Who-Knows-Whom chugs up in as high-mileage a queer old brokedown buggy as ever clunked down the narrative road. Sees me sitting there a-twiddling my thumbs and asks me, Need a lift? Depends, says I, all the while giving him and his beat-up three-wheeler (yup) the once-over, as did he me: Where you bound for? I
"Fred" was shifting our buggy's gears from first toward third, I took the opportunity to do the same with him, narrative-point-of-view-wise. It's still his been-told story being told, mind, and he's still It, but I'm telling you the sucker from here on out, at least this part of it/ slash/him; otherwise we'd all go around in such who's-in-charge-here circles that the three of us would likely keel over from narrative vertigo, and old Story's story'd disappear up its own asshole: a Mysterious
aboard, even as our ship goes down. Thelma? "Just want to add what only now occurred to me: that if we think of Junior's tracking us down here at Bernbridge last month—which Cindy had given us advance warning of, Listener, after he'd tracked her down—as a replay of his father's tracking us down in Annapolis back in the mid-fifties, then that old reconnection with Manny Senior can be called the foreplay of what we're doing now with Junior. Right?" Amen. I.e., fucking him over? "And over and