Books by John Barth

EVERY THIRD THOUGHT by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"Idiosyncratic, outlandish—and a good read."
Barth delivers a slim postmodern novel about—what else?—a postmodern novelist experiencing a series of uncanny coincidences and visions. Read full book review >
THE DEVELOPMENT by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 7, 2008

"Strongest and freshest when it explores the terra infirma of old age."
National Book Award winner Barth's latest (Where Three Roads Meet, 2005, etc.), a slender collection of linked stories set on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Read full book review >
WHERE THREE ROADS MEET by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 21, 2005

"Better titled Where Three Roads Diverge—but do little more than divert."
Like the NBA-winning Chimera (1972), three linked novellas about sex, heroism and writing. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF TEN NIGHTS AND A NIGHT by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 9, 2004

"Best for those who consider Barth an essential contemporary writer—whose numbers may be, well, "contracting.""
The storytelling urge, in old age and under duress, as seen in the veteran postmodernist's latest collection. Read full book review >
COMING SOON!!! by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 20, 2001

""Whether the reader finds entertaining or tiresome such smoke-and-mirror tricks, a staple of Postmodernism, will depend on that reader's taste and experience." The reader couldn't have said it better himself."
Are we ready for this? Another labyrinthine metafiction from the veteran literary gamesman who has beguiled and befuddled readers with such brainteasing doorstoppers as Giles Goat-Boy (1966), Letters (1979), and The Tidewater Tales (1987). Read full book review >
ON WITH THE STORY by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 10, 1996

"Alternately, as it were, cloyingly self-absorbed and uniquely inventive—and very much the same kind of thing Barth has been doing for what seems like decades."
A collection of 12 linked and also discrete stories—Barth's first since Chimera (1972)—that may also be a speculative autobiographical novel, from the reigning master of postmodernist metafiction (Once Upon a time, 1994, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 14, 1995

"A dilettante par excellence, Barth has read intelligently and indiscriminately enough to have something interesting to say at almost any time."
Like The Friday Book (1984), a collection of eclectic and irregularly insightful essays by the noted novelist—an admixture of reminiscence, manifesto, and review. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A TIME by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 4, 1994

"Very vintage Barth, and disappointingly so, despite the occasional reminders of a talent once new and stunningly inventive."
In a reprise of old themes, haunts, and ideas, metafiction master Barth (The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, 1991) returns to himself and his native Chesapeake Bay in this fictional memoir of a middle-aged writer embarked on an autumnal cruise. Read full book review >
THE LAST VOYAGE OF SOMEBODY THE SAILOR by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 11, 1990

Barth is back with another big (544-page), bawdy, and "postmodernist" book, replete with the usual metafictional conceits, in which the "New Journalist" hero, a contemporary Scheherazade of sorts, likes to swap tales with the legendary Sinbad the Sailor, while trying to get his bearings, both metaphorically and literally. Read full book review >

THE LAST VOYAGE OF SOMEBODY THE SAILOR by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 11, 1990

"A thin story in a very fat book."
Barth is back with another big (544-page), bawdy, and "postmodernist" book, replete with the usual metafictional conceits, in which the "New Journalist" hero, a contemporary Scheherazade of sorts, likes to swap tales with the legendary Sinbad the Sailor, while trying to get his bearings, both metaphorically and literally. Read full book review >
THE TIDEWATER TALES by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 22, 1987

"Rudderless fiction that runs aground too often."
For all its metafictional winks and high-jinks, Barth's latest tome fails to transcend its (ironically intended) self-description as "a novel in which next to nothing happens beyond an interminably pregnant couple's swapping stories." Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 18, 1984

"Primarily for those involved in the philosophy-of-fiction quarrels, then, along with passionate fans of Barth's novels and stories."
Lectures, introductions, symposium contributions, and other miscellaneous pieces (written on Friday mornings)—most of which end up as arguments for Barth's "postmodernist" approach to fiction, with extensive references to his own work (especially the numbing LETTERS). Read full book review >
SABBATICAL by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 24, 1982

"But it's an intriguing, touching spectacle nonetheless—the avant-garde meets banal-romance—and it's certainly Barth's most accessible novel since The Sot-Weed Factor."
Some critics have long suspected that the "meta-fiction" experimentalists (those who erect a barricade of cold, ornate literary devices between story and reader) are really the least tough-minded writers around, that they often use parody and formalism to fend off—or cover up—the thin sentimentality at the heart of their work. Read full book review >
LETTERS by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 8, 1979

"For most everyone else—a sorry spectacle, baroque and listless, noisy and busy and smug and empty."
Straight from the ivory tower—here's the ultimate, unreadable academic novel, and, sadly, the fiercest ammunition imaginable for John Gardner's self-righteous "moral fiction" crusade. Read full book review >
LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 27, 1968

No American writer under forty is as lavishly admired as John Barth. Read full book review >
GILES GOAT-BOY by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 5, 1966

"His major conceit, finally, is the assumption that the reader will tolerate almost anything for an intolerable length of time merely because it is awfully philosophical and terribly clever."
Mr. Barth's grandiose novel is constructed as an elaborate Conceit: the World is a University. Read full book review >
THE SOT-WEED FACTOR by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 19, 1960

"However, the literary models Mr. Barth has chosen give him ample scope for pornography and scatology and all the archaism will not disguise the elements and incidents of disgust and distaste which were certainly prominent in his earlier modern allegory, The End of the Road."
Ebenezer Cooke, an innocent like Candide, was born in Maryland but raised in 17th century England. Read full book review >
THE END OF THE ROAD by John Barth
Released: July 17, 1958

"The same road that has been travelled with Kerouac, and to an extent Herbert Gold, this is for those schooled in the waste matter of the body and the mind; for others, a real recoil."
Sick-sick-sick, or maybe just foul, this spends a few weeks with Jacob Horner from the time when he is picked up by a Negro headshrinker who diagnoses his trouble as immobility. Read full book review >
THE FLOATING OPERA by John Barth
Released: Aug. 24, 1956

"The scene is the Eastern shore of Maryland, and The Floating Opera is a showboat which docks up there."
A deliberately digressive and, on occasion, smugly salacious report on the life and times of Todd Andrews, a bachelor, a lawyer, and a philosopher of (and out of) sorts who reviews his life as it was influenced by a heart condition and prostate trouble. Read full book review >