The Unfortunates review ☆ 7

review The Unfortunates

The Unfortunates review ☆ 7 ↠ [Read] ➵ The Unfortunates By B.S. Johnson – A sports journalist sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the railway station Memories of one of his best most trusted f A sports journalist sent to a MidlandLood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a football matchB S Johnson’s famous ‘book in a box’ in which the chapters are presented unbound to be read in any order the reader chooses is one of the key works. Although the edition I got from the library came bound in a single volume I was able to cleverly skip around the chapters as intended which did increase the fun uotient if not making much difference in how one experiences the work Aside from just the avant garde nature of his novels I really enjoy Johnson's use of language and this makes me want to investigate those of his works I haven't yet read

B.S. Johnson Ç 7 characters

Of a novelist now undergoing an enormous revival of interest The Unfortunates is a book of passionate honesty and dark courageous humour a meditation on death and a celebration of friendship which also offers a remarkably frank self portrait of its auth. A book that comes in a book shaped box Twenty seven sections one labelled ‘first’ one ‘last’ and the reader is free to choose the order in which they read the interceding 25 sections This isn’t a device for the sake of being tricksy but the author wants to replicate the random and unreliable nature that our memories workA writer and journalist is sent to cover a soccer match in a Midlands town As he steps off the train two hours ahead of kick off a host of memories rush into his head as this is a town chockfull of resonance for him He met one of his best friends who was at University here when he had travelled up for a collaboration on student newspapers His friend died of cancer at just 29 and the book is a series of chopped up recollections of the triangular friendship together with the man’s wife the narrator’s own love life the disease and the nature of writing itselfAs he makes his meandering progress to the football stadium via café butchers and pub he recalls time spent with his friends in various towns Sometimes the architecture eludes him as he can’t pinpoint which pub or café or sometimes the architecture itself has changed with progress Eually he struggles to pinpoint whether the man’s wife or whichever of his own female consorts was present in some recollected event or not As much as memory floods in on an emotional level in its caprice some of the details are denied him and they of course can inflect his emotional response to the memory It’s interesting that one section is him finally sat in the press box desultorily composing his report as the match proceeds limited by both the clichéd language of sports reporting which he’d like to burst out from plus the word limit of his column inches which pretty much predetermines what he can write even before the match kicks off and play takes what direction it will On the inside of the box his final match report is printed and reads very bland and lacking all the linguistic flourishes demonstrated throughout the rest of the bookThere were a couple of places where I didn’t feel the narrative conceit was consistent It was fortunate that the penultimate section I read happened to be him in the press box of the ground What would have happened if I’d happened to read that after the ‘first chapter’ the timing would have been way off This did happen when an early section I read had him on the final part of his walk up to the ground when later I read sections where he stopped off to buy some meat at a butchers Just seemed to me that the author could have got around these timing problems easily enough but just hadn’t noticed or triedAnd what of the overall effect of the narrative conceit My path through is in all likelihood going to be different from any other reader since their section choices will be different from mine I think it worked well for both the horrendous rise and fall of hope as the path of the friend’s cancer is traced and also that of memory’s fragmentedness too As Johnson has his protagonist comment “yes how the mind arranges itself tries to sort for things into orders is perturbed if things are not sorted are not in the right order nags away” This is by far the most interesting parts of the narrative as he struggles over whether it was his first visit to their house or whether he drove as his friend had not yet passed his driving test whether that was the occasion when he’d bought a certain book on architecture and so on And then in the light of his friend’s premature death does any of it matter anyway “My mind passes dully over the familiar ground of my prejudices so much of thought is repetition is dullness is sameness” Definitely an interesting read if not a gripping one since the subject matter is both mundane in the sense of what is being recalled and grim in respect of the disease If you’re interested in literary experimentation or trying to get to grips with a realistic mimesis of how the human mind works I’d say read this novel if however you are after an entertaining read for entertainment’s sakes then possibly not It certainly sparked my creative imagination and helped me resolve a project of my own that had become stalled The idea of a reader navigating their own path through a narrative and not a uest or treasure finding one is deliciously enticing

Read ☆ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ç B.S. Johnson

The UnfortunatesA sports journalist sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the railway station Memories of one of his best most trusted friends a tragically young victim of cancer begin to f. 45 stars rounded upHere it was he talked about the RAF So 10 space gap So must others for ever or talk about something like it and it does not matter to them now it cannot have mattered at any time to me so why this if it is so meaningless anything means something only if you impose meaning on it which in itself is a meaningless thing the impositionwhy do reasons matterSometimes I think I shall become a SurrealistAnother day another review hopefully one which will encourage the reading of The Unfortunates even though I’m likely to discourage as many as are prodded on As is freuently the case with the books I’ve been reading this isn’t one for everyone—it could be but it won’t be as it should be yes no maybe perhapsThe narrator one BS Johnson travels to a city to cover a soccer match for a newspaper and the travel the pre match wandering through the city the sights all conspire to remind the narrator of an old friend now deceased who had been a good friend and trusted ally in the narrator’s budding career as a writer Rather a bland premise but that story isn’t the story The story is the randomness of recollection the bits and pieces remembered in detail or remembered in part Embellished Romanticized Contrived Non linear Scatter shot Cumulative while disintegrating Exactly the way Memory works the memories that matterJohnson the author employs a style that some may find tortuous Polysyndetons without the conjuctions memory upon memory Heavily punctuated demanding the reader slow down slow down Gaps in the text suggesting the narrator’s mind has wandered off on to something else Disclaimers undermine and reinforce So about that book in a box—WTF is that Is it a gimmick Of course Is it a useful gimmick Decidedly Does it add embellish contribute reinforce So many uestions The answer I believe is it does add It reinforces the idea of the randomness of memory It reinforces the idea that no two readers ever read the same bookIf you’re lucky enough to have a copy at hand take a moment Prop up the front cover from behind—so that the box stands open Consider the topmost surface covered in a muted off white color of satin with a small pillow resting on it A casket The contents of which holding the objects of Memory The contents to which most Memories are headed A cliché yes NoThe joy of this book isn’t in the story The joy of this book is in the reading Have a grand day