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Download The King's Indian: Stories and Tales epub

by Herbert L. Fink,John Gardner

The time period and social caste help to determine the ways in which such diverse protagonists as a prison warden, a minister, and an insane queen deal with tragic ironies of human experience
Download The King's Indian: Stories and Tales epub
ISBN: 0394492218
ISBN13: 978-0394492216
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Contemporary
Author: Herbert L. Fink,John Gardner
Language: English
Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (November 1, 1974)
Pages: 323 pages
ePUB size: 1240 kb
FB2 size: 1299 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 285
Other Formats: mbr mobi lrf txt

A diverse collection, which some will interpret as uneven, although each tale is beautiful in it own right. My favorite is the last tale, "The King's Indian," a novella that really swings and is as much about the art of story-telling, and how to keep a reader involved in the possible directions a tale might take, as it is about the ocean voyage that knowingly riffs off of Melville and Poe--this last tale will be have particular appeal to those readers who enjoy the work of that current short story master, Jeffrey Ford.
As can be the case with John Gardner's writing, some of the stories in this volume are fairly weak. Others show flashes of brilliance one expects from the author of Nickel Mountain. Worth reading for the bright spots.
Excellent Condition!
all I was looking for was a semi-beat hardcover version--that's what I got! fantastic!!
Serious fiction is hard work, not just to write but to read. That was my main takeaway from this disparate, often frustrating collection of shorter fiction pieces by John Gardner, who was during his lifetime one of the most serious of serious fiction writers.

The 1974 book is organized into three sections, "The Midnight Reader," which presents spooky goings-on in various times and places, along with much character exposition; "Tales Of Queen Louisa," an often whimsical trio of surrealist stories set in a fairy-tale kingdom; and "The King's Indian," a novella about a man who puts to sea and finds himself part of a quest he little understands but becomes as obsessed with as anyone else.

"When I asked where the slip would put in, he answered, 'Heaven if we're lucky; more likely lower,'" Gardner has the protagonist of "King's Indian" say at one point. I had similar trepidation before beginning each new piece in this book.

Though forgotten today, Gardner was a major literary figure of his time, someone not afraid to criticize his highbrow contemporaries for shallowness in their work. Gardner's fiction here is not at all shallow; it’s dense as an iceberg looming before your ship's bow. Resistant to summarization, the stories turn on a dime, with murky characters and abstruse plotlines.

In "Pastoral Care," a hip minister finds himself alienating his congregation and slipping his own moral bearings after talking to a bearded radical who may be in the habit of blowing up buildings. It sounds promising, but basically consists of a series of internal monologues by the minister, contemplating lust and hypocrisy and the possibility he is just a sham.

In "The Warden," a nameless man in a nameless place in a time unnamed contemplates over several installments the possibility that the prison keeper he works for has disappeared behind his always-closed door, perhaps replaced by a sinister revolutionary. "There is no past or future in the grammar of God," he is told.

The more I read, the more convinced I became that the stories were never more than secondary to Gardner; that they were merely dressings for multifaceted philosophical constructs and existentialist probings. I had no idea what Gardner was getting at reading "The Midnight Reader" stories, only a faint sense that had Gardner known my confusion, it would have pleased him.

The only relief Gardner offered me was the three "Tales Of Queen Louisa," which while just as random in construction as his other stories, seemed aimed at least as much to amuse as to irritate. The story begins with the title character slipping in and out of the form of a reptile. A fractured fairy-tale feeling dominates, along with an undercurrent of playfulness that comes out more strongly in a second reading. These stories were a bit too haphazardly constructed to be classics, but they were fun enough that I wish he had built the whole book around them.

The last piece, "The King's Indian," is by far the longest, focused around a storytelling theme that uses a framing device of a barroom conversation that pokes in and out of the narrative. It presents a mariner stranded on a whaling ship in the early 1800s. Here all the good will "Queen Louisa" built up was drained by a convoluted story about mad mesmerists and time travel that makes no bones about being a distillation of themes found in "Moby-Dick" and "A. Gordon Pym" (Gardner even finds a way of namechecking Melville and Poe.)

That the story makes no sense may be the point here; Gardner throughout the book seems to play with meanings in order to demonstrate the hollowness lying within them. I don't know, I didn't really understand the book much and, except for the sportive ramblings of "Tales Of Queen Louisa," nor did I feel entertained or edified by the work of reading them. All I knew was I was happy when I was finished, but I'm not sure Gardner deserves credit for that.
John Gardner was one of the best writers of the twentieth century. No question! If he had lived longer, he might have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was on the short list for the Nobel Prize in the early 1980's. And then, much to our misfortune, he died in a tragic motorcycle accident. I am amazed that this book has no reviews. I just started reading it, and I find it difficult to put down. The stories in here remind me of Poe, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Steinbeck, etc. He was such a gifted man. Do yourself a tremendous favor and read this book. God blessed him with a great talent. Read and enjoy all his books.
Exactly what I wanted. Thanks.