BREAKDOWN by John Bratby


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This is certainly the kind of book which is more of a temptation for the reviewer than the reader. It is full of words, ranging from savage satire to gibberish, and likely to attract all kinds of opinion, whether in admiration of its virtuosity or outrage at its vulgarity. John Bratby, a very successful British modern artist, has told the story of James Brady, who is also a successful British artist but is NOT Bratby, from the day when he decides to leave his well-ordered life with his wife and son to his accidental death (on the point of a sword) some time later. In the interval between, there is a vertigo of experience of all kinds:- Brady's mock-heroic Pilgrim's to Rake's Progress has involved him with Enmerelda, eager to be seduced but not abandoned; he acquires a taste for more sordid night life-prostitutes and degenerates; he goes on the road; there is Sylvia, a whore, who bears his child and loses it; there is Rosalina; there are periods of total disintegration- and reincarnation; etc., etc. All of it is grotesque; some of it, particularly in the passages where it apes spheres, Aschools and styles of both artists and writers, is versatile and acute; some of it is uncontrolled, foolish and tedious. And in general, most readers will not care to share Brady's vision of life at its most disfigured and distorted.

Publisher: World