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Burning Down George Orwell's House
Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Robert Stone describes Burning Down George Orwell's House as a "… most enjoyable, a witty, original turn … one part black comedy and one part a meditation on modern life. It is well-written and truly original." Learn more about the author, Andrew Ervin
The philosopher Colin McGinn has achieved what has likely been done few times before.
World-renowned in the field of philosophy for his extensive writings, teachings, lectures; at the forefront in the philosophy fields of logic, language, and metaphysics; the father of new mysterianism, the theory that the human brain has limitations and is incapable of understanding how consciousness occurs, Dr. McGinn has now turned his hand to literature and has demonstrated that, with dedication and effort, a great mind can accomplish triumphs in any field.
I could not put the novel down. McGinn has given us, through his insightful and inspired writing and his sharp wit, an astute presentation of the dilemma faced by many artists and authors and musicians: Be brilliantly creative and miserable while living a life where you don't know who you'll be with or where you'll live or what you'll be doing next week; or be happy - but creatively deadened - while living a stable life with a person you love.
The story stays with you and leaves you examining your own life, whether an artist or not. To top it off, McGinn's writing is brilliant, fresh, and hilarious. His characters are so well-developed that you think you knew them yourself.
I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys great literature, to artists/authors/musicians or would-be artists/authors/musicians, to people who like cutting humor, and to people who like to read.
If James Joyce were alive today, this book would be at the top of his reading list.
Warning though: not for anyone under 18.
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I had read a couple of Colin McGinn's serious works a few years ago and happened upon Bad Patches. Liking his philosophical work I imagined this novel to be part philosophical, part literary. He claimed in the introduction that there is no philosophy to be found in the novel, however.
The best I can say about it is that it might be sort of similar to Camus' The Stranger. "Dave" lives a moment-by-moment life. He does give thought to the future, however, which is different. He also reminds me of Holden Caulfield from Cathcer in the Rye.
I found myself wondering much more about the author than the novel itself. I wondered if McGinn simply wanted to show us the worst of characters out there to demonstrate a contrast with a thoughtful society? I wondered if he just does so much philosophy that he just needed to let of some steam. I wondered about McGinn's true character, and if his narrator was his imagined alter-ego. I wondered many things and kept reading.
They say one shouldn't judge the author, just the work. That is hard to do.
It held my attention. And it was funny. McGinn has a way with words which makes this lively to those with appreciation for description and style. I was deeply offended much of the time, but read on, hoping for some justice.
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