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
she peeled off her robe and pajamas that it was class time for Fornication 101. "You're supposed to set the beat, not follow it." As to that, dazzled Will would remind her presently, in their combo it was Al, ever their leader, who set the beat from his stance between them at his bass—"A-one, a-two, a-one-two-three-four"—and himself who then maintained it, kept it up. "So keep it up!" she urged, implored, commanded from beneath him, her eyes winced shut, head whipping from side to side as if in
finds its voice? Which is to say, its Sidekick/Helper—in my case, the ablest yarnspinners on Planet Earth, whose words have been my Magic Passport. Obstacles and Adversaries? Try book burnings and other censorships, lost manuscripts and sacked libraries, whole civilizations destroyed or petered out, not to mention trivialization, Disneyfication, bumbling bards, and other such hazards. I marvel that I'm here at all! But upon my own Princess/Queen, the Muse of Archetypes, I've sired a worldwide web
widow with a son, Benjy—slow-witted, obese, resentful, ungovernable, and altogether parasitic, in his outspoken twin aunts' opinion—who makes a misery of his mom's middle years until he piles up her Pontiac in a DUI accident on the Baltimore Beltway, killing himself, two drinking buddies, and the innocent driver he was passing on the right at ninety miles an hour on a rainy March night in 1973. To which his aunt Aggie would add—if I may, Thelma?—that once our wiped-out kid sister had closed that
timekeeper at a steel mill on the city's east side, and by day as a parttime roach-spray salesman in its bug-infested black ghettos, among sundry other pickup employments, all of which enriched his résumé of extracurricular real-world experience beyond high school clerking in his parents' store and musicianing in the (by-then-defunct) Bohemia Beach Club. "And taught him, by the way, that the worlds of white-collar office work and product-peddling, like those of store-clerking and the blue-collar
example (as quoted by his disciple John in the eponymous book, 8:32); to the research university whose motto, eighteen centuries later, those words became; and to the newly founded U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which had also seen fit to appropriate that "bit o' Scripture" as its motto. He enjoyed pointing out (the class was reading Sophocles) that while "the truth" might indeed be liberating—whether from soul-damning Error in the first instance, intellectual benightedness in the second, or