J R

J R J R is the long awaited novel from William Gaddis author of The Recognitions that tremendous book which in the twenty years since its publication has come to be acknowledged as an American masterp

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  • Title: J R
  • Author: William Gaddis
  • ISBN: 9780394495507
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Hardcover
  • J R is the long awaited novel from William Gaddis, author of The Recognitions, that tremendous book which, in the twenty years since its publication, has come to be acknowledged as an American masterpiece And J R is a book of comparable magnitude, substance, and humor a rushing, raucous look at money and its influence, at love and its absence, at success and its failuresJ R is the long awaited novel from William Gaddis, author of The Recognitions, that tremendous book which, in the twenty years since its publication, has come to be acknowledged as an American masterpiece And J R is a book of comparable magnitude, substance, and humor a rushing, raucous look at money and its influence, at love and its absence, at success and its failures, in the magnificently orchestrated circus of all its larger and smaller than life characters a frantic, forlorn comedy about who uses and misuses whom.At the center J R, ambitious sixth grader in torn sneakers, bred on the challenge of free enterprise and fired by heady mail order promises of success His teachers would rather be elsewhere, his principal doubles as a bank president, his Long Island classroom mirrors the world he sees around him a world of public relations and private betrayals where everything and everyone wears a price tag, a world of deals where honesty is no substitute for experience, and the letter of the law flouts its spirit at every turn Operating from the remote anonymity of phone booths and the local post office, with beachheads in a seedy New York cafeteria and a catastrophic, carton crammed tenement on East 96th Street, J R parlays a deal for thousands of surplus Navy picnic forks through penny stock flyers and a distant textile mill bankruptcy into a nationwide, hydra headed family of companies The J R Corp and its Boss engulf brokers, lawyers, Congressmen, disaffected school teachers and disenfranchised Indians, drunks, divorc es, second hand generals, and a fledgling composer hopelessly entangled in a nightmare marriage of business and the arts Their bullish ventures shaky mineral claims and gas leases, cost plus defense contracts, a string of nursing homes cum funeral parlors, a formula for frozen music burgeon into a paper empire ranging from timber to textiles, from matchbooks to legalized marijuana, from prostheses to publishing, inadvertently crushing hopes, careers, an entire town, on a collision course with the bigger world the pragmatic Real World where the business of America is business, where the stock market exists as a convenience, and the tax laws make some people equal than others the world that makes the rules because it plays to win, and plays for keeps.Absurdly logical, mercilessly real, gathering its own tumultuous momentum for the ultimate brush with commodity trading when the drop in pork belly futures masks the crumbling of our own, J R captures the reader in the cacophony of voices that revolves around this young captive of his own myths voices that dominate the book, talking to each other, at each other, into phones, on intercoms, from TV screens and radios a vast mosaic of sound that sweeps the reader into the relentless real time of spoken words in a way unprecedented in modern fiction The disturbing clarity with which this finished writer captures the ways in which we deal, dissemble, stumble through our words through our lives while the real plans are being made elsewhere makes J R the extraordinary novel that it is From the first edition dustjacket

    One thought on “J R”

    1. This 700+ page novel by William Gaddis (1922-1998) is a splendid work of literature. And in case you’re wondering about the title, JR is the name of one of the main characters, a grungy 12-year old boy who happens to be a financial genius working his money-magic from a public telephone booth in a hallway at his school. An alternate meaning of the two huge letters on the book’s cover could be ‘Jabbering Ruck’, since the novel is mostly dialogue and, make no mistake, every single person [...]

    2. 1.Trying to make sense of corporate America is like trying to make sense of Beckett. Wait, this was a bad year when you made 5% more than last year which was a good year?----Why are they waiting for some dude who never shows up? Why doesn't he just get out of the pile of pig shit?.I hate capitalism. I abhor it. I don't have a better idea for how things could run, but I know that there is something fundamentally wrong with it. Corporate America knows there is something fundamentally wrong with it [...]

    3. STARTERS:Hey You Listening?--- It's like a darned big brick, isn't it?--- Um--- Monolithic--- N--- Intimidating--- Listen will you, goddammit--- Impenetrable--- Not at all! No!It's just like anything else that's marvellous and new--- Whaddya mean?--- It's like me trying to write music. Until a performer hears what I hear and can make other people hear what I hear what the audience hears it's just trash's just trash like everything else in this world full of shopping malls--- Trash?--- Yeah. ever [...]

    4. Do you find books like Infinite Jest too accessible? Is Gravity's Rainbow too basic for you? Well friends, William Gaddis's J R is the book for you! It's got a slew of amazing features!** Over 700 pages of almost totally unattributed dialogue!** Only the smallest specks of narration possible to indicate a change of time or setting!** No chapters, headings or sections and barely any paragraphs to indicate the formal beginning or end of any action!Finishing J R, I feel like Frodo Baggins must feel [...]

    5. ”I'd suggest that what J R documents is the way that America is hollowing out the foundation necessary to even read a book like it, an America that teaches its children via closed-circuit television, an America that thinks democracy means owning a share of profit-maximizing publicly traded corporations. This is what it means to say that J R is about the conditions underlying the impossibility of its own reception. If there were a welcoming mass public for books like this, a public able to appr [...]

    6. "Rhinegold! Rhinegold!Purest gold!If but your bright gleamstill glittered in the deep!Now only in the depths is theretenderness and truth:false and faint-heartedare those who revel above!"-The Maidens of the Rhine, Rheingold, Richard WagnerThe first thing which struck me about this book was how noisy it was. Almost the entire book is ceaseless dialogue, not even stopping for quotation marks or even identifying who's talking. The background noise is overwhelming, with Wagner's Ring, televised cla [...]

    7. “I mean why should somebody go steal and break the law to get all they can when there's always some law where you can be legal and get it all anyway!” ― William Gaddis, JRHow do you rate this adequately heh? Four stars allows that humanity (or Gaddis) might reach a little higher, dance a little quicker, squeeze a little more juice out of the GD lemon, but sitting here now it also seems like I would have to go and downgrade all previous fours if I only gave it four stars. Five it must be. B [...]

    8. «Por qué la gente infringe las leyes para coger todo lo que pueden si siempre hay alguna ley con la que puedes ser legal y cogerlo todo de todas formas».Quería leer este libro antes de ir con la considerada mejor obra de Gaddis, Los reconocimientos. Con Jota Erre esperaba algo que me permitiera entrar en la narrativa de Gaddis y no sorprenderme con nada que pudiera aparecer en Los reconocimientos. Pero cuando ya llevaba más de 100 páginas dentro de Jota Erre supe que este libro no era ning [...]

    9. Well he, of course he did yes I, because it's one place it's the one place an idea can be left here you can walk out and close the door and leave it here unfinished the most, the wildest secret fantasy and it stays on here by itself in that balance between, the balance between destruction and and realization until"Talking day to night Barbie power suits. Nine to five to pour a cup of rat poison in your kid's cup of ambition. I don't understand money except that I don't have any. I don't understa [...]

    10. I've now read three articles (two of them introductions to Gaddis' own books) on this author that concern the purported difficulty of his work: one by Rick Moody, one by Jonathan Franzen, and my personal favorite, William H. Gass' intro to The Recognitions. Rick Moody wants us to believe that this, widely seen as one of the hardest novels ever written, is actually a fun time, and he's not too far off the mark. Franzen wants us to believe that reading Gaddis is a brain-destroyingly difficult task [...]

    11. I want to make clear up front that this is the strongest 5 Stars I can give – which is kind of a dumb thing to say, but I think rating books is kind of dumb (though I can’t wrap my head around not doing it). All books I give 5 Stars to are highly recommended, I’m just saying that this is one of the ones that should just be considered essential. Is it as good as The Recognitions? Nope. Is it almost as good as The Recognitions? Yep. I really shouldn’t have to say more on that.This is the G [...]

    12. This book is devastatingly sad. This book is devastatingly funny. " Over cartons and lampshades the mop flew to lodge behind Appletons' and he hitched himself back to the edge of the plateau steadying one foot on Won't Burn, Smoke or Smell, looking into it, digging among un-developed film rolls, string, an odd glove, defunct cigarette lighters, coming up with a straw beach slipper he fitted descending, paused against to brush another layer of dirt down his front before he sat on the sofa's edge [...]

    13. JR is certainly a stylistic masterpiece. As far as I’m aware its structure – that is, a single, gargantuan, unbroken passage comprised almost entirely of unattributed dialogue – has not been attempted before or since. Depending on what you think about the novel, you might interpret this as being indicative of a literary pinnacle, or a dead-end. I think it’s a little of both. The brilliance of this novel is in how much Gaddis manages to communicate given the constraints of the structure. [...]

    14. Big Business Is For KidsI grew up just down the road from William Gaddis's home. But I didn't encounter his writing until about thirty years ago, first in his enthralling Recognitions, and then in JR which to me is the most important piece of fiction ever written about business.JR, of course, is a six-grader who builds a business empire from a phone box. He gets to know the tricks of the trade, any trade, by trial and error. Hence he can reveal the real ethos of business as he goes along, withou [...]

    15. JR is simply loads of fun. Don't fall for the Franzen trashtalk about Gaddis being "Mr Difficult." Just fun. And smart. [NEW]--A conversation apropos the Dalkey reissue of JR regarding Gaddis, JR, and Difficulty at Open Letters Monthly.Gaddis Annotations is all you'll need to keep yourself oriented to scene and character. Don't let that unattributed dialogue scare you off -- Gaddis has the talent to individuate each of his characters and you won't have to bother reading a bunch of "he said . . . [...]

    16. An essential, a masterwork: uproarious yet profoundly troubling, syllable-perfect in its rendering of voices both adolescent and doddering, and gathering a vital and thunderous narrative force though it features a cast and a technique that risks utter confusion. Indeed, confusion is one of the core themes here, spiritual confusion, as Gaddis here looms up like a recording angel of late-20th Century materialist culture. He gets the entire culture, yes, though his plot never moves beyond a middle [...]

    17. “Since you're not here to learn anything, but to be taught so you can pass these tests, knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that?”A mise en scène is school but instead of educating it is sowing ignorance and cultivating bad taste. “The function of this school is custodial. It's here to keep these kids off the streets until the girls are big enough to get pregnant and the boys are old enough to go o [...]

    18. I have long been struck by the irony that the most avid readers of literary novels seem to have been virtually ignored by American publishers who cater to the mainstream. Sad to say but American publishing's mindless fixation with mediocre mainstream fiction has had an obliterating effect on American literary culture. So God Bless Penguin for having the good sense to bring to light, even belatedly, this breakthrough literary novel by a supremely gifted writer. I haven't read a more challenging n [...]

    19. Glad I finished it, but I wouldn't read it again if you nailed it to my forehead and pinned my eyes open. 726 pages of unattributed dialogue. No complete sentences, just maddeningly naturalistic speech - all run-ons and sentence fragments and ums and ahs. No chapter breaks. A floating POV with only the dialogue to alert you to scene changes and character entrances/exits. In other words, a migraine dressed as a novel. But in all fairness, it's a good novel anyway. The title character, a sixth gra [...]

    20. 4.5 / 5Wow. I won't be able to write everything here right now. This book is such a monumental achievement. I can't imagine what it took to write it, and I can't pretend to understand all of it. Everyone is so connected through back channels or invisible ties's hard to make sense of it all. Despite it being entirely in dialogue (well almost), and despite the book feeling at first as though it may not be able to create a fully formed 3D whole person, the book ends up brimming and overflowing with [...]

    21. this book is so damn long a famous american author named johnathan franzen was compelled to write an essay that was too damn long about how long and difficult this book is, and how he couldnt' finish itt. he also said the same thing about don quixote, which makes me think he didn't try very hand since like 400 pages of don quixote is about the don showing his di dong to sancho panza via mishaps involving horses, aand also farting.jr isn't about farting or dingdongs most of the time, sadly, but t [...]

    22. “No no listen look, first time in history so many opportunities to do so God damned many things not worth doing…” (477, JR)I take this rating system way too seriously, and therefore need to explain myself because I have to admit that I did not love this book. I'm not even sure I liked it. But for me to give JR anything less than five stars would also misrepresent my reading experience, and since five stars equals amazing, I'm going with that. When I was reading JR I thought a lot about ple [...]

    23. Like nothing I've ever read before. At first I wondered where it was going and what the hell it was about, but it earns every page and after finishing it, finally, my first thought was that I needed to read it again in a year or so to catch all the things I missed. Audiobook performance is excellent, adds to the enjoyment of the voice of the Gaddis' work.

    24. Lo bueno, es un decir, de haber leído/padecido La broma infinita (que afortunadamente es finita), es que tras haber leído esa novela de David Foster Wallace todo lo que viene después tienes ya con qué compararlo (y no me refiero a El canon occidental, que más bien parece La Piedra Rosetta, por sus hechuras monolíticas). Así que gracias a DFW, tras haber pasado por su culpa todos los anillos del purgatorio, le ha perdido el miedo a todos los escritores, a William Gaddis también.!Que viene [...]

    25. wowUpdate:I've tried my best to find anything to add to the professional and unprofessional reviews of JR online and the best seems to have been said. I also try my best to dodge overkill by any means necessary, so herein I'll give you a brief history/take on JR, a book I wanted years to read. I swear to Whatever finally buckling down to this thing in this blizzard with a week off from work reminded me of what sex must have been like in prior centuries. At least for those who waited, and wore so [...]

    26. U. S. A. is the slice of a continent. U. S. A. is a group of holding companies, some aggregations of trade unions, a set of laws bound in calf, a radio network, a chain of moving picture theaters, a column of stockquotations rubbed out and written in by a Western Union boy on a blackboard, a public-library full of old newspapers and dogeared historybooks with protests scrawled on the margins in pencil. U. S. A. is the world's greatest rivervalley fringed with mountains and hills, U. S. A. is a s [...]

    27. Hugely disappointing. Once you look past the flash of his prose technique, the all-dialogue strategy plays like a one-note samba, and the characters are mostly tired mid-century clichés. The humor is strained, except for a few witty puns it’s all highly contrived slapstick, and Gaddis has a tendency to repeat any humorous verbal effect multiple times till it becomes tedious, even if it was funny in the first place. The portrayal of gender is about what you’d expect it to be, sadly: Gaddis j [...]

    28. I am not a good classics reader. First I would like to thank greg for (not) recommending this to me. I am glad I was aware of it and I am glad I put my best foot forward. and I at this point had more fun then I had not fun with this book. Lets talk about magic mountain. It is 706 pages (this is 726). I called magic mountain on 440 (I'm calling this on 413 I wanted to give him another 50 pages but the fact is I am worried first that I will never finish and second that it will hurt his star rating [...]

    29. Among the best I've ever read. Magnificent. Hilarious. Savage. Can't stop marveling As good as it gets So many hilarious and anguishing motifs within DFW's Infinite Jest now seem to me to be perfect and just and right and true little valentines to William Gaddis and what a heartening thought!

    30. Can we just all admit that this is a hilarious book? Like yeah Gaddis is Mr. Difficult and highly technical but if the reader focuses too much on that aspect they miss some truly hilarious, screwball moments. Like holy shit Bast is living in an apartment where the water's always running (and he decides not to like call the water company or the building souper to get it taken care of) he uses shirts for towels and he's horrendously malnourished. The unattributed dialogue isn't hard to follow as l [...]

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