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Inglorious ❴Reading❵ ➻ Inglorious Author Joanna Kavenna – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Rosa Lane is , at Dante s centre point of life, when the individual is meant to garner experience and become wise So far she has managed well enough without wisdom she has been obedient to prevailing Rosa Lane is , at Dante s centre point of life, when the individual is meant to garner experience and become wise So far she has managed well enough without wisdom she has been obedient to prevailing s, she has worked hard at her decent job in London and has never troubled the stream Yet she is suddenly disoriented by events, unable to understand the death of her mother, finding the former buttresses of her life her long term relationship, her steady job no longer support her When she leaves her job, and her relationship ends, she is thrust out into a great loneliness she becomes acutely aware of tormented by the details of the city, the lives of those around her, and the deluge of competing criesHaving stripped herself of her former context, and become inexplicable to her friends and family, she embarks on a mock epic quest for a sense of purpose, for an answer to the hoary old question Why Live Her comical grail quest is fraught with minor trials encounters with former friends, unsympathetic landladies, prospective employers, theory mongers, and denizens of the real world Rosa also falls into a state of constant motion, nervously treading around London Yet her constant circumnavigations of the city fail to enlighten her, and she escapes from the city to join friends in Cumbria This escape finally precipitates the climax of the book, the greatest trial, and the beginnings of her return to normality, whatever that was.


10 thoughts on “Inglorious

  1. Hugh Hugh says:

    This is an original and intriguing black comedy with roots in existentialist philosophy I can t write a review that does it justice, so instead I will recommend this one by Antonomasia, who recommended the book to me last year On the surface and particularly in the early parts, it reads like a simple mid life crisis novel with a feminist spin, but Kavenna is far too serious and philosophical for that to be a fair representation It is just as much about This is an original and intriguing black comedy with roots in existentialist philosophy I can t write a review that does it justice, so instead I will recommend this one by Antonomasia, who recommended the book to me last year On the surface and particularly in the early parts, it reads like a simple mid life crisis novel with a feminist spin, but Kavenna is far too serious and philosophical for that to be a fair representation It is just as much about the empty concerns and vacuity of modern life and the impossibility of finding enough time to rationalise it.The story charts the mental disintegration of Rosa, a London journalist in her mid thirties with a comfortable middle class lifestyle and similar friends At the start of the book she resolves to leave her job, partly because she feels she can no longer write coherently, but it becomes clear that the crisis hasto do with her mother s death and the decline of her decade long relationship with Liam, who has refused to marry her Liam soon ends the relationship and Rosa moves out of their flat, depending on the charity of friends for somewhere to stay Liam is soon engaged to one of her friends, and so far all of this is classic rom com cliche Rosa s thoughts run to higher things her to do list is repeated and modified at regular intervals and includes things like Read the comedies of Shakespeare, the works of Proust, the plays of Racine and Corneille and The Man Without Qualities Read The Golden Bough, the Nag Hammadi Gospels, The Upanishads, The Koran, The Bible, The Tao, the complete works of E A Wallis BudgeRead Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Bacon, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and the restHoover the living roomClean the toiletDistinguish the various philosophies of the way read History of Western PhilosophyIt soon becomes clear that she will never achieve any of these goals, instead she vainly tries to get various unsuitable jobs, to resolve her mounting money problems and find somewhere else to stay, while getting distracted by occasional deeper thoughts and glimpses of ideas with greater significance She is also half heartedly involved in a relationship with Andreas, a much younger male actor, and she is unable to face asking her father for help At one point she makes a desperate journey to visit a happily married couple in the Lake District I m not sure how deliberate the errors in the train s route were this may have been done to illustrate her confusion but no train leaving Euston can possibly be calling at Luton, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Preston, Manchester Piccadilly, Kendal, Oxenholme and Glasgow Central.I was reminded of all sorts of other writers Sartre, J.G Farrell, Cortazar and Bernice Rubens to name just four, but perhaps it is closest in spirit to early Rachel Cusk, particularly The Country Life


  2. Antonomasia Antonomasia says:

    4.5 What a poorly skewed ratings graph this book has on Goodreads But the reviews here and onexplain why it s been mis marketed Does that cover look like quite a serious philosophical novel to you Nope, I didn t think so Only this cover suits it People will judge and choose by covers, no matter what old adages say And a lot of the blurbs sound altogether too chicklitty The quotes from the serious press make sense but Smart, funny and warm I think someone sent Elle a Kathy Le 4.5 What a poorly skewed ratings graph this book has on Goodreads But the reviews here and onexplain why it s been mis marketed Does that cover look like quite a serious philosophical novel to you Nope, I didn t think so Only this cover suits it People will judge and choose by covers, no matter what old adages say And a lot of the blurbs sound altogether too chicklitty The quotes from the serious press make sense but Smart, funny and warm I think someone sent Elle a Kathy Lette novel in the wrong cover for them to come up with that melted cheese No wonder there are so many reader reviews that seem to be missing the point and often the references in the book, saying it s miserable, or criticising the lack of a shiny happy self helpy conclusion Dropping out of society and being all existentialist is, in art and fiction, historically a male occupation That hadn t bothered me especially as I didn t see it as meaning women couldn t, just that fiction not reality considered them to have different preoccupations, plus I m perfectly capable of identifying with different gendered characters In an interview Joanna Kavenna said I remember as a teenager reading all these canonical books by Lawrence and Camus on what was always billed as the human condition It s only much later that you start to think, where are all the women Whereas my conclusion was that hardly any female writers were interested in producing work along those lines.I hoped I would at some point they would and I d notice it those I m now aware of have all been very recent creations The film Wendy Lucy was the first one I remember And now this andCome to the Edgea novel which Joanna Kavenna wrote straight after Inglorious but which wasn t published until seven years later.Both are novels of similar ideas but with different tones Inglorious is serious though there are lines at which some might laugh in dark humour, and it doesn t explain itself directly As in the later book, which I read first, there is a critique of capitalist society and the expected trajectory of an orderly life, which simultaneously understands the love of that society s trappings The heroine, Rosa, visits the home of some married friends Three children, it was a towering achievement And the place was a work of artEverything was immaculate Her covering letters on job applications have all the satiric rage and righteousness of the newly manic Dennis Bagley in How to Get Ahead in Advertising Rosa s journey, most of which is around the streets in duller areas of West London, closely mirrors the protagonist s experience in Knut Hamsun sHungerand the narrative often reminded me of the Norwegian book Another review alludes to Dostoevsky Her swing from colour supplement success story with a happy family background, to starving, uncompromising, occasionally hallucinatory, dropout intellectual is precipitated by events that populate mainstream fiction the death of her mother, walking out of a media job, the end of her moribund relationship things sometimes trivialised when they belong to certain types of people in stories, especially younger middle class women But these things can be harrowingly painful with the depth of centuries, even though their surface outlines are templates for cheap station novels with pink covers, or films starring Jennifer Aniston And I think Kavenna is trying to point this out in Inglorious She said in the same article I quoted above what happens if women write books that are solely about women trying to struggle with life do they get accepted as representations of the human condition, or is it just the female condition No, I don t think people have a problem accepting them as part of the human condition if the work is intellectually serious and I ve seen at least as many men as women give high opinions of such works However, chicklit is perhaps regardeddismissively than the smaller number of similar popular novels by and about men The modern setting made aspects of Hunger even clearer to me, andpertinent, in particular its illustration of the mismatch between the money system and the human need for self expression and actualisation which is insoluble for most except the relatively well off and a few off grid survivalists There is also a fantastically evoked sensation of grasping around for things, for the levers which work the world, through a fog which has descended Part of the fog is unfortunately others lack of understanding Most of Rosa s friends can t comprehend life off their own tramlines and sneer at her yet she is acting like the subjects in many works of art they no doubt admire, with her unusually idea based depression Though their worst actions are to catalogue cruelly to her face her failings during the last days of her dying relationship, as if they hadn t realised that everything which had happened wasthan enough Those who try to be helpful are ultimately very boundaried and intent on remaining immersed in their own lives and convenience But then what else is anyone supposed to do Co dependent helping would be unhealthy or smothering or both Another insoluble problem of how society works If I hadn t read Granta 123 The Best of Young British Novelists 4, I can t imagine I d have picked up a book that looked like this, or gone beyond dismissing its synopsis the old one on here I replaced it on Goodreads with one from the author s website mentioning Dante s centre point of life , which gives a better impression of what s inside hopefully a fewreaders who ll like this will find it now, undeterred by average ratings from those who wanted to read something completely different


  3. David Grieve David Grieve says:

    One of the best books I have read for a long time A thirty something journalist walks out of her job shortly after her mother has died She has also split up with her long term partner as the relationship has decayed over time.She relies on friends and her father to support her as she runs out of money but doesn t have the wherewithal to get another job.She is totally self absorbed as her mental state declines and the question is whether her friends are shabbily turning their backs on her or wh One of the best books I have read for a long time A thirty something journalist walks out of her job shortly after her mother has died She has also split up with her long term partner as the relationship has decayed over time.She relies on friends and her father to support her as she runs out of money but doesn t have the wherewithal to get another job.She is totally self absorbed as her mental state declines and the question is whether her friends are shabbily turning their backs on her or whether she is driving them away.Repetitive and introspective it may be but it is also thought provoking and, in parts, very funny


  4. Possibly in Michigan, London Possibly in Michigan, London says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I absolutely hate giving books below three stars, but lord, what did I just read I admire it as a concept woman enters into destitution to find herself express millennial woes I mean, I read an article about this in the Guardian this week, it s a thing, almost seven years later But Kavenna sets herself up to fail it s a novel about being unable to act, being stuck in a mental cycle, and therefore the outside world remains largely inert This would be fine if the minimal tension there is I absolutely hate giving books below three stars, but lord, what did I just read I admire it as a concept woman enters into destitution to find herself express millennial woes I mean, I read an article about this in the Guardian this week, it s a thing, almost seven years later But Kavenna sets herself up to fail it s a novel about being unable to act, being stuck in a mental cycle, and therefore the outside world remains largely inert This would be fine if the minimal tension there is wasn t entirely contingent on the character s finances running out her not having anywhere to live I never believe this is the case not to give much away, but the character has enough money on her to buy an impromptu one way ticket abroad at the end There are no true observations about what it s like to feel poor, or to feel insecure for the first time ever The other characters are simply unbelievable, because their reactions are presumably meant to make Rosa, the lead character,sympathetic The causal relationships between events were never clear That is always the case in real life, but in this novel, it meant that we never have a sense of what s happening in Rosa s material world Maybe that was Kavenna s intention but I think there has to be a kind of nod to the reader the character thinks this, but THIS is actually happening The prose just wasn t exhilarating enough for me to want to immerse myself in the character s mental state I think amazing writing could have saved this because there needs to be amazing writing to make me feel that the events, however small, or mental, are significant


  5. Alicia Alicia says:

    The jacket describes this novel as piercingly wise and bitingly funny with a main character who is a triumphant modern heroine I can t think of worse ways to describe this book, which was profoundly depressing The main character, a successful journalist, suffers a sort of mid life crisis after the death of her mother and abruptly quits her job Then her boyfriend of ten years dumps her for another woman, and all her friends are jackasses, and she s just in a terrible mental state for the e The jacket describes this novel as piercingly wise and bitingly funny with a main character who is a triumphant modern heroine I can t think of worse ways to describe this book, which was profoundly depressing The main character, a successful journalist, suffers a sort of mid life crisis after the death of her mother and abruptly quits her job Then her boyfriend of ten years dumps her for another woman, and all her friends are jackasses, and she s just in a terrible mental state for the entirety of the book, which is completely unpleasant to read D


  6. Magdelanye Magdelanye says:

    she needed to change her circumstances, but she was lazy and her habits ingrained p12There s just something, like an unseen impediment p69 I feel as if the real world,with its laws of time and space, its economics, politics, and even morality, has dissolved Or I have been detached from it, and have emerged somewhere I m not quite sure where But really it s much better here on the edge It affords quite the best view..p70Rosa, finding herself in desperate circumstances, creates a kind of a she needed to change her circumstances, but she was lazy and her habits ingrained p12There s just something, like an unseen impediment p69 I feel as if the real world,with its laws of time and space, its economics, politics, and even morality, has dissolved Or I have been detached from it, and have emerged somewhere I m not quite sure where But really it s much better here on the edge It affords quite the best view..p70Rosa, finding herself in desperate circumstances, creates a kind of alter life to conceal her growing alienation from life as she perceives it My empathy for her situation and her methodology was not quite sustainable, perhaps too close to my situation for comfort she lacked willpower She was too lonely and eager.p72She didn t like lying.But the other option being honestwas out of the question p73Then there are her lists, As much as I groaned when confronted with yet another version of Rosas attempts to create some order, her compulsive listmaking eventually snagged me and towards the end of the book I glimpsed the deep humour holding together what could have been an endlessly bleak narrative.Calm your nerves.Read Marcus Aurelius.Accept the necessary limits of human life.It s impossible that you ever know how the universe is made So stop worryingp215


  7. Alistair Alistair says:

    i bought this book on spec largeley because it had a dog on the cover and one of the reviewers said the tone was somewhere between Bridget Jones and Philip Larkin i soon forgot about the dog because this is a brilliant account of someone having a nervous breakdown and driven almost mad and paranoid because she gave up her job , lost her mother and her boyfriend in short succession the Bridget Jones connection comes only because , Rosa whose nervous breakdown is described , is a thirty somethin i bought this book on spec largeley because it had a dog on the cover and one of the reviewers said the tone was somewhere between Bridget Jones and Philip Larkin i soon forgot about the dog because this is a brilliant account of someone having a nervous breakdown and driven almost mad and paranoid because she gave up her job , lost her mother and her boyfriend in short succession the Bridget Jones connection comes only because , Rosa whose nervous breakdown is described , is a thirty something single woman living in london , who once had a glamorous job however she never desired Colin Firth and seems to have a very different mind to your average chick lit heroine , not that i would know having never delved beyond the frothy pink covers of a chick lit novel not many chicklitters refer to Robert Musil s Man without Qualities Rosa has a mind like Philip Larkin , minus the dirty old man bits mordaunt and melancholy but a bit less controlled than Larkin After quitting her job as a journalist Rosa quickly discovers how important work is to the majority of people it gives them an identity , a position in a certain strata of society , money of course which helps , and provides a comfort blanket however tatty after all what do you do is probably the second most asked question on first aquaintance , after where do you livepeople never ask what they really want to know , which is how much do you earn the set pieces in the book are brilliant , particularly her meeting with her father on a day trip to london which is poignant, and the visit to a smug family in the Lake District which is very funny there are some repetitions particularly when Rosa is walking the streets of London but this only emphasises her obsessions and alienation i have feeling that some readers will be unsympathetic to Rosa and find it one long whine , but i thought it was all brilliant even though she is not a likeable figure.after all she is weak , self obsessed and defensive She is farlikeable than most of her associates we are introduced to I liked her weak ending but that is the bane of most books even very good ones like this i think this is up for some literary prize it won t win , it is far too good


  8. Mary Mary says:

    I had high hopes for this book It has a compelling premise a thirty something woman, whose mother has died, walks out of her own life quits her job, breaks up with her boyfriend, and starts couch surfing It seems as though an interesting philosophical journey will unfold But her Bartelby like approach quickly becomes infuriating and annoying Perhaps this is because Rosa s inner dialogues are too repetitive, focused as they are on being broke She isn t likable, with her oh poor me, why doe I had high hopes for this book It has a compelling premise a thirty something woman, whose mother has died, walks out of her own life quits her job, breaks up with her boyfriend, and starts couch surfing It seems as though an interesting philosophical journey will unfold But her Bartelby like approach quickly becomes infuriating and annoying Perhaps this is because Rosa s inner dialogues are too repetitive, focused as they are on being broke She isn t likable, with her oh poor me, why doesn t someone give me a break whining, while refusing to actually get a job Bizarrely, a large portion of the plot is devoted to Rosa trying to get her bank to give her a break.Rosa is obsessed with making lists, and this provides a bare structure for the book Kavenna hardly goes anywhere philosophically Rosa lamely cites a few philosophers while going about her pathetic list making There was a missed opportunity here for a novel that might seriously explore the difficulty some people have functioning in society Rosa could have discovered something that would allow her to move forward, finding an alternative way of existing outside society or an inner philosophy to shore up her existential crisis Instead, she makes no journey at all


  9. Jayne Charles Jayne Charles says:

    This was a profound and quite moving novel which, against all expectations, sustained its intensity right through to the end, never letting up at all It is surely the work of an awesome intellect The story follows Rosa, a journalist who suffers a sort of early mid life crisis following the death of her mother, quits her job and slides into poverty and mental instability Suddenly she is aware of the futility of her own existence, and the fundamental questions of philosophy are suddenly all too This was a profound and quite moving novel which, against all expectations, sustained its intensity right through to the end, never letting up at all It is surely the work of an awesome intellect The story follows Rosa, a journalist who suffers a sort of early mid life crisis following the death of her mother, quits her job and slides into poverty and mental instability Suddenly she is aware of the futility of her own existence, and the fundamental questions of philosophy are suddenly all too important, and prevent her from pulling herself together Though told in the third person, Rosa s voice comes across very clearly, and the enormity of the outside world, as she views it walking through the streets of London, is fascinating viewed through her eyes Not a detail is missed, and it is reminiscent of James Joyce s Ullyses though dare I say it better andenjoyable I also admired the author s ability to zero in on the telling details the bank employee with his faceful of compelling moles , and the ageing man who sits opposite Rosa on the train, banging into her and taking so long over his apology that they were in danger of having a conversation


  10. Cecilia Cecilia says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here SPOILERS Depression, societal shock, emotional shutdown, and psychological grief are popular subjects in fiction and can be written about well When they are, it makes the reader feel spiritually cleansed and psychologically reborn When it is not done well, the reader wishes to slap the protagonist and scream at him or her When it is done horribly, the reader has his or her own break down and wishes to kill him or herself rather than finish one mo SPOILERS Depression, societal shock, emotional shutdown, and psychological grief are popular subjects in fiction and can be written about well When they are, it makes the reader feel spiritually cleansed and psychologically reborn When it is not done well, the reader wishes to slap the protagonist and scream at him or her When it is done horribly, the reader has his or her own break down and wishes to kill him or herself rather than finish onesentence in the story Unfortunately, Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna is one of these novels One of the rare good things about the novel is that Kavenna has a really good style of writing, good voice, and strong use of wit Many passages are quite beautiful or thought provoking For example, while Rosa is riding on a bus, the narration follows, There was a sign pointing left, saying EQUAL PEOPLE So that s where they live, Rosa thought 54 Using a sarcastic thought to a common street sign meaning something else entirely, it is easy to tell that Kavenna knows her craft of writing very well That being said, she obviously was not taught about the importance of plot The novel starts off with the clich d though catchy start of a woman named Rosa who has lost all meaning in her life She abruptly quits her job as a journalist and walks out the door to find herself using the philosophies though the ages Though this idea has been done many times through the history of novel writing, Kavenna sets this up nicely Then, everything goes downhill from there The woman loses her significant other of ten years to her best friend of just a few, she jumps from location to location, using her friends for as long as she can until they kick her out, purposefully fails job interviews, and, overall, becomes a parasite Through these so called trials that areakin to malingering than actual depression, rather than finding herself in philosophies, she becomes lost in them She does not necessarily question everything, a principal taught in many philosophies, so much as whine about everything For example, one night at 2 00 in the morning, she calls back the man who took pity enough on her to give her a free lance job to apologize for being depressed When he cuts her off with a very polite request that she call him back at areasonable hour, Rosa narrates, He would be asleep in a second, and she counted down, thinking of him drifting into sleep, falling and now, Andreas was unconscious, she thought Then she kicked the phone out of the socket, went to her room and whined herself to sleep 275 He was very polite when reminding her of the hour, even telling her he would talk to her later, and she only thinks about herself Philosophy and the art of finding oneself is essentially supposed to make one less of a self centered jerk, but all Rosa can concentrate on is herself She fails to grow as a character, which just adds to the monotony and pointlessness of the story Throughout the novel, Rosa s sense of humor, while witty and full of symbolism and social commentary, is largely and annoyingly self deprecating While this at first pulls sympathy, the longer it goes on, theit alienating it becomes One such witty commentary is Rosa s habit of making to do lists, which never seem to get done, a true reflection of how depressed people tackle to do lists As the list rarely changes very much but is repeated in its entirety throughout the novel, it just is there to fill space in what should have been a novella or short story rather than a novel Another such annoyance is Rosa s tendency to share many letters she writes to various people in the novel, many of whom we never hear about again, begging for a job These letters, while in essence follow the professional outline, are again self deprecating and would in no way ever gain a single person any form of employment Again, while these may at first gain a chuckle for their dark humor, the longer it continues, theit annoys It is as if Kavenna took a brilliant joke and retold it too often In its entirety, Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna, though it has its witty moments, is not worth the effort it takes to force oneself to open it Unless quite a prize is waiting at the finish line for the reader, it should not be bothered with by anyone unless he or she particularly enjoys self deprecating humor, plot less actions driven by the protagonist s chaotic thrashing into philosophy, or novels that inspire disgust or hate by the end, of which is only slightly wrapped up in the last few pages


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