John's Wife

John's Wife

by Robert Coover

The bestselling author of "The Public Burning" spins a darkly magical tale about life in an ordinary small town and the woman who casts a spell on its inhabitants.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.59
  • Pages: 432
  • Publish Date: April 19th 1997 by Simon & Schuster
  • Isbn10: 0684830434
  • Isbn13: 9780684830438

Read the Book "John's Wife" Online

Were I a talented writer with a developed bit of wit, Id write a parody of one of those saccharine reviews that simply gushes about Johns Wife (know that her name is apostrophed) and youd all rush out to tbr this wonder. So Ill settle for exclaiming that Johns Wife ought to count more highly in the esteem of Coover readers ; it ought to count up there with The Public Burning, even if the fireworks are a tad more restrained. However, as I declaim how great is Johns Wife Im fully aware that Im tempted that direction a bit by the degree to which it is a more normalish=novel ; more normalish than the middleclass nightmare of Geralds Party (also apostrophed ; and both employing to fine effect the parentheticalization of subclaused thoughts) and more realist than Pinocchio and nothing at all like the pyrotechnics of Lucky Pierre. But speaking of the bourgeois novel, its not really that, but more like the American Small Town Novel of which variety Ive been reading several recently -- combine that setting (of the sort I grew up in several times ; I think there were at least three) with a large cast of characters and a floating PoV and you get a set of significant, unremarked upon novels which successfully avoid the First Person Terror (ie, PoV) and result in what is frequently derided as PoMo -- I mean of course Coovers own Brunist novels and Evan Daras novels and Jeff Burseys novels (I know, hes Canadian, but I said American and my America is large) ;; probably extends back to things like Sinclair Lewis ; and theres at least an Indian version in Kanthapura. For instance, The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors Cut was written over a period of forty years, published finally in 2002. The Short Stuff :: Novellas and Short Stories Quite, true, these could/should be divided in half, but in my book, they kind of do similar things, ie, produce perfect pieces (unless they fail, etc). The novellas almost seem like formal perfection and have been functioning quite well for introducing readers to Coovers genius. The Novels Pretty much the Coovers no one reads. But should :: Geralds Party -- in which the I is apostrophized* (199 ratings 22 reviews ) Pinocchio in Venice (161 ratings 26 reviews ) The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors Cut -- really pretty much an unendurable masterpiece (52 ratings 9 reviews ) Johns Wife -- in which she is apostrophized* (84 ratings 7 reviews ) All four are of the genre tour de force or something ; but readers with weak stomachs will have already avoided them and/or wont have the patience to endure them. But I think its a pity more people do not read them ; theyre a great antidote to the extremely conservative nature our literary scene has taken on in recent years decades.

I don't mind reading 40 pages of a dude clipping his toenails as long as I, you know, find the character intresting. I don't mind having to deal with a 10 page long dramatis personae section, I don't mind family trees that will scare the living shit out of almost everyone I know, I don't mind reading 388 footnotes but I need to honestly care for those character to put on with all that crap feel a connection with the characters. And then I started to imagine how cool it would be to shoot all those stupid retards while screaming at them how annoyed I was with all their stupid bitching then I started wondering if it was ok to fantasize about shooting fictional characters, and decided it was ok, cuz in my fantasy they were zombies and it's ok to kill zombies (they like Nazis or hippies. (Final) Ok I recently learned to abridge shit so Ima give this piece of crap a try: Jonhs Wife.ABRIDGED!: We open with some bull shit followed by more bull shit then some plot that makes no sense, then some stupid awkward, senseless transitions where you have to go back and re read again cuz you aint sure how if you was reading about a girl 2 sentences ago and now she has a penis? Them some more useless craps about characters that are completely unrelated to what you were thinking about the plot was, then something about some dude and a camera and some weird senseless philosophical shit that has something to do with aesthetics or something like that, then a lot of malls, construction companies, and I dont know some weird rivalry between a weird girl and John and then he mention johns wife and some different people want to fuck her or fuck her up and I dont know I think it had something to do with love then more shit, more awkward transitions, more bull shit, something to do with a crazy bitch and a retard and them hanging out and stealing food, and then some hunt and more shit more awkward transitions, guns a whale hunt, somebody masturbates with a shotgun, people die, a quick wrap it up copout maneuver and the end!

(284) In John's Wife, Coover shows the need for mythical narratives to give meaning to our mundane lives. Coover gives the sly hint in the very opening paragraph of this book: Once, there was a man named John. In spite of all that happened to his wife and friends, John lived happily ever after, as though this were somehow his destiny and his due. As one character had presciently grasped : She sometimes had the weird feeling that John had brought to this town, not Waldo, but her, and no doubt others like her as well, not out of any sense of caring for an old flame (that was flattering herself), and not just to make her eat shit and feel the fool either, though she wouldnt put it past him, but just because, a smalltowner to the bone, hed started up these stories and wanted to keep them all around him, see how they all came out. Almost makes me wonder why this book wasn't called John's Town?! So what role does the enigmatic nameless John's wife play in the narrative? A lot of f***ing solitary sadness, Coover's book eviscerates the myth of small town wholesomeness by showing the rot within, and the ugliness we hide behind the facades of community, religion, love, marriage, friendship, progress, change, you name it! The book's tongue-in-cheek opening lines endowing John with a faux mythic allure, an allure, which then must be stripped away to lead to the bonfire of the vanities. "John and his wife, in fact, are the twin suns of the small town where this raucous and disturbing novel is set." A cynosure of all eyes, her presence as indispensable as a definiendums to a definition. To those readers who see misogyny in the text, I'd like to remind them that here men fare even worse!

As the title charecter fades away, the charecters lives kind of spin out of control.

The Coovers lived in Spain for most of the early 1960s, a time during which Coover began regularly publishing stories in literary magazines, including the Evergreen Review. In 1969, Coover won a Rockefeller Foundation grant and published Pricksongs and Descants, his first collection of short fiction. During the early 1970s, Coover published only short stories and drama, including A Theological Position (1972), a collection of one-act plays, all of which were eventually produced for the stage. By the mid-1970s, Coover had finished his next novel, The Public Burning; it took him more than two years to find a publisher for the work, which was ultimately cited as a National Book Award nominee. Coover received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1985 and a Rea Award for A Night at the Movies (1987), a collection of short stories.