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Comment: This book is a former library book and contains library stamps or stickers. This book has been read, resulting in slight bends to pages or other minor but noticible changes from new. This book shows normal shelf wear expected from a former library book.
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The Gallery (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – March 31, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A book by an ex—soldier that deals with the Americans in Itlay and that displays unmistakable talent…Mr. Burns shows the novelist’s specific gift in a brilliant way." — Edmund Wilson

"Burns has a brilliant facility for reproducing the sights, sounds, color, feel, and smell of the places he has seen. He uses this to startling effect to recapture what many Americans beyond the frontiers of their antiseptic homeland for the first time found in exotic and warped war centers as Casablanca, Fedhala, Algiers, and of course the twisted and diseased Napoli itself." — William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle

"An important novel of our time." — William McFee, New York Sun

"No one will ever forget this book: a story torn from impassioned experience of modern wars in a shattered city of the ancient world. The Gallery is unique, unsparing, immediate; inextinguishable." — Shirley Hazzard

About the Author

John Horne Burns (1916-1953) attended Andover and Harvard and then served in military intelligence during World War II. He wrote two more novels after The GalleryLucifer With a Book and A Cry of Children—but both met with a cold critical reception. He drank himself to death in Florence while still in his thirties.

Paul Fussell
(1924–2012) was the author of many books on war and twentieth-century culture, including The Great War and Modern Memory, which won the National Book Award. His memoir Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic chronicles the time he spent fighting with the 103rd infantry division in World War II.

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (March 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590170806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590170809
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Burn's "The Gallery" was highly acclaimed when it appeared in 1946; reviewers thought they had found a superb new talent and "war novelist" to praise. "The Gallery" is set amidst ravaged, end-of-the-war Naples, and involves an average American Joe from North America coming into contact for the first time with the softer, older southern culture of the Mediterranean, and the influence it has on him. The action centers around the Gallery Umberto I in downtown Naples, a great,, glass-topped Victorian arcade where in the various run-down bars and darkened trattorias everything is for sale, from cigarettes to liquor and women. Though the setting is squalid, the transformation worked upon the main character by his location and his relationship with a local woman forced to sell her body because of the collapsed economy is both absorbing and moving. This book is much more than a "war novel," it is a great piece of lyrical literature well-worth searching out. If you like Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" or Gore Vidal's World War II novel, "Williwaw," or Kurt Vonnegutt's "Farehneheit 451," try "The Gallery," it is more lyrical (something in the style of Tennessee Williams) than any of those (good as they are).
Unfortunately Burns' next book, "Lucifer with a Book," was one of the most talked about novels of 1947 - because it dealt with the naughty goings-on at an all boys' prep school - not something America could handle in 1947. Burns was savagely attacked by the same critics who had praised him as a war novelist. Burns left for Europe and quickly drank himself to death, never taking his place along the Mailers, Vidals, Bellows and Capotes of his generation as he deserved. The detached, independant reader will find "The Gallery" a wonderful, surprise read.
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John Horne Burns's The Gallery, first published in 1947, was a highly acclaimed first novel about WWIi, a war that launched a thousand novelists' careers. Unlike Mailer, Salinger, Michener, and Wouk, Burns was unable to turn his early success into a sustained literary output. His second novel, Lucifer with a Book (1949), is a roman a clef about Burns's experiences as a prep school teacher, by most accounts a bitter dishing of Burns's coworkers. The overwhelming success of The Gallery (Burns was on the cover of Time) can probably be attributed to several factors: Burns's power of observation and his honest and compassionate depictions of his various uniquely flawed characters; his world-weary, if not outright cynical, take on war which may have appealed to the American public who had likely grown tired of newsreel patriotism; and the book's loose structure (nine "portrait" chapters interwoven with eight "promenade" chapters in which the reminiscences of an anonymous GI are recounted) freed the fledgling novelist from any obligation to create an entirely lucid, tightly integrated whole. Given Burns's penchant for opera and melodrama as attested by his biographer David Margolick (Dreadful, 2013), the book's loose structure may be the novel's saving grace. It is, after all, the story of lives touched by war. If the individual characters' stories had been integrated more forcibly the result would have been a depiction of community (much like what Carson McCullers conjures in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter). Instead, Burns projects a world of profound disorder, non-sense, and alienation.

Much has been made, and perhaps rightly so, of Burns's frank depictions of homosexuals in the military.
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Format: Paperback
The Galleria Umberto is an arcade of shops and cafés at the center of Naples, Italy. In 1944, after the Allies had taken control of the country, everyone managed to make his or her way to this galleria: the Neapolitans to watch and to take advantage of the Americans; the Americans to get drunk, to find a trick or to think.
In "The Gallery," the narrator takes us on a tour of the galleria, showing us the sights, sounds and people who frequent the area. Each of the 9 stories gives the reader a glimpse in to the social and sexual practices of the American GI in 1944: from a censorship office run by an egomaniac to an Italian girl finding love in an America officer's club to a gay bar. These portraits are linked by the narrator's own experiences from Casablanca to Naples and his realization of what love and the war mean to him.
This novel might be considered semi-autobiographical as John Horne Burns served during World War II and undoubtedly drew inspiration from his surroudings. For example, the portrait titled "The Leaf" takes place in a censorship office; Burns also served in a censorship office while in Italy. It is a wonderful book to read. My only gripe is that many of the characters speak Italian or French, and what they say is not translated. Perhaps this works to show what it may have been like for the American soldiers, most of whom went to Italy and the rest of Europe not knowing the languages. I would like to have known what was being said, though. (This last part may only reflect the copy I was reading. There may be translations in other copies.)
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