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City Life Paperback – May 3, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Pocket (May 3, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671823043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671823047
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,322,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven T. Cannon on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
These cracked and conceptual stories hide a ruthless and skeptical analysis. So few innovative writers are readable. So few readable writers achieve something worth reading. The astounding formal innovations here are absolutely integral to the work. Barthelme feels like the smartest, funniest, most sarcastic person in your humanities seminar. An example of postmodern fiction that makes resentful continental postmodern criticism obsolete in advance.
To compare. Among modern American writers with ideas about American culture Pynchon competes but sometimes does less with more. These stories are stripped to the skeleton. The omnivorous imagination here is like Borges but the learning of obscure ancient cultures has been replaced by the obscurities of our equally arcane popular culture.
Unless you have to write a dissertation replace Foucault and Derrida with this on your reading list. You'll learn as much and you'll laugh instead of fighting the urge to go back in time and kill the analyst's parents.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Adams on December 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Story titles are: 1. Views of My Father Weeping 2. Paraguay 3. The Falling Dog 4. At the Tolstoy Museum 5. The Policemen's Ball 6. The Glass Mountain 7. The Explanation 8. Kierkegaard Unfair to Schlegel 9. The Phantom of the Opera's Friend 10. Sentence 11. Bone Bubbles 12. On Angels 13. Brain Damage 14. City Life. Here you will find Postmodern short fiction with pictures attached. Prose poems, enigmas from the 1970's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
"City Life" was my intro to Barthelme. I was stunned! Who was this guy, fusing commentary on psychoanalysis and morals with allusions to American TV commercials (Brain Damage)? Rewriting the classics (The Phantom of the Opera's Friend)? Barthelme wrote from perspective of the confounded innocent, astounded by pop culture: to paraphrase from In the Tolstoy Museum, I hope something vivifying happened to him there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Fenrich on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up a ragged pocket-sized copy of this at my local Half-Price Books for 63 cents. Might be the best 63 cents I've ever spent. I doubt I got the point, if there was one or many, to many of the stories in this collection, but it didn't even matter. Barthelme's humor and accessible language made each story a pleasure to read (except for Bone Bubbles, a stream-of-conscious, punctuationless, seemingly disconnected (what did I miss?!?!?!) ramble). I'm full of superlatives for Senor Barthelme. Creative fiction at its finest! Knows no bounds! The Donald has broken the plain of American fiction and on and on and on. It took me 26 years to find him, but it was well worth the wait. I'm looking forward to 60 Stories.
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By lbj is dead on January 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love absurdism like I love air. It renders me at peace with my environment. And this particular book renders the historian in me at peace with the insanity (and narcissism, see Christopher Lasch) that followed in the wake of the tumultuous "sixties". I guarantee that this book is not for everybody, in fact it is probably for very few people. But if you like or are interested in absurdism, want something more than Godot but something less self-indulgent than Howl, check out City Life.
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