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Berg [Paperback]

Ann Quin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 11.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 2001 British Literature Series

"A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father...."

So begins Ann Quin's first novel, which has been compared to the fiction of Samuel Beckett and Nathalie Sarraute. Against the backdrop of this gritty seaside town, an absurd and brutal plot develops involving three characters -- Alistair Berg, his father, and their mutual mistress. In his attempt to kill his father, Berg mutilates a ventriloquist's dummy, almost falls victim to his father's mistaken sexual advances, and is relentlessly taunted by a group of tramps. Disturbing and at times startlingly comic, Berg chronicles the interrelations among these three characters as they circle one another in an escalating spiral of violence.

A member of a group of British avant-garde writers that included B. S. Johnson and Eva Figes, Ann Quin is one of the best kept secrets of British contemporary experimental writing. She published four novels before her death at the age of 37.


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Review

"A marvelously warped book. . . .' -- New York Times

"A vividly intense and almost palpably immediate work of imagination." -- Irish Times

"I think BERG is an excellent answer to all those who think reading novels is a waste of time." -- Books & Bookmen

"If you don't read it then you're not interested in the present and possible future of the English novel." -- Scotsman

"The style is eclectic enough to remind the reader of the New Wave, Beckett, Pinter, and Freud with a headache." -- Library Journal

About the Author

One of the best kept secrets of British experimental writing, Ann Quin has garnered comparisons to such diverse writers as Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, and Nathalie Sarraute. Before her death in 1973, she published four novels, including THREE and TRIPTICKS. In 1964 she became the first female recipient of the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship.

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4.0 out of 5 stars bent up triangle Sept. 21 2002
Format:Paperback
I do recommend this novel, but only to those who will not desperately flee some miserably twisted circumstances. This novel continues the experimentation of the English novel as a form that Beckett put a halt to when he became French. Berg really is tremendously dark, but it has an oddity or eccentricity that makes it not only memorable but meaningful. In addition to the story indicated in the editorial reviews above, it does something to resemble in content an almost Graeco-tragedian structure puttied with a more domestically modern flesh. This novel is one that totally disturbed me in ways that did not make me love it but I find that the author is wonderfully comic, creative, pleasingly dark and intelligent. For such an odd book, I do not know how to say I recommend it, but for a continuance in one's education of novelistic recourses this may be one book that makes you happy in a rather uncomfortable way. If for no other reason, pick this novel up to read the first sentence.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars bent up triangle Sept. 21 2002
By Alvaro Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I do recommend this novel, but only to those who will not desperately flee some miserably twisted circumstances. This novel continues the experimentation of the English novel as a form that Beckett put a halt to when he became French. Berg really is tremendously dark, but it has an oddity or eccentricity that makes it not only memorable but meaningful. In addition to the story indicated in the editorial reviews above, it does something to resemble in content an almost Graeco-tragedian structure puttied with a more domestically modern flesh. This novel is one that totally disturbed me in ways that did not make me love it but I find that the author is wonderfully comic, creative, pleasingly dark and intelligent. For such an odd book, I do not know how to say I recommend it, but for a continuance in one's education of novelistic recourses this may be one book that makes you happy in a rather uncomfortable way. If for no other reason, pick this novel up to read the first sentence.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ann Quin's First Novel June 13 2006
By hj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A man tracks down the father he never knew and, concealing his identity, befriends him and has an affair with his mistress.

Ann Quin's first novel was a big success in 1964 & remains her best known book. The plot is a characteristic 60s mix of lowlife absurd (Beckett, Pinter) & symbolism (Freud, Laing). In one scene the drunken father tries to rape the son who has dressed up in the father's mistress's clothes! And then there's some creepy perversity concerning a ventriloquist's dummy.... Although of its time & betraying some of the over-ripe awkwardness of a first novel, the extraordinary quality of Ann Quin's writing retains its disturbing power today. If you find the attempts of today's Brat novelists to write "on the edge" laughably obvious & shallow, then read some Ann Quin for the real thing.
5.0 out of 5 stars An unknown wonder Jan. 26 2014
By kenw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found out about this book quite by accident, and was intrigued to learn that the author came from Brighton, my home town, in the UK. Sadly, she drowned in the sea there in 1973. I felt I had to read it, but I really did not expect to find the book any good.
It is a most wonderful book. She writes terrific prose and the novel has great momentum. I did not find it sad or depressing. The narrator, Berg, is probably quite crazy so don't expect everything to make sense! I think there are more than hints of "The Master and Margarita" and some Becket stories here, but I find Becket's Frenchfied "ennui" really irritating these days. Berg has a thrust and even joy (in the writing) that Becket never managed (or even tried!)
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