Originally published: 1966
Author: John Barth
Genres: Metafictional Comic Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure fiction, Allegory, American Literature, Dark Humor. Classic American Literature.
NOTE: This book is not normal and reviewing it is the same... Insane, maybe the word that I can use, but still, not enough to describe it. Basically, it is not possible to describe this book because it has so much to say that I may have to write a three hundred-page book to explain it.
I bought this book just because I saw the image of a humanoid goat on the cover and I half expected it to be about a demonic person or the devil himself. But it is not about the devil or demons, instead, you are going to find many devils and demons related to humanity. This book is like a code of 700+ pages of tightly packed words and sentences, and you must un-code it by reading and understand what is actually happening and what the writer was saying because whatever you are reading is not what it means. There is a lot of stuff in this book that may offend many readers. Mr. Barth is profane, licentious, perverse, and blasphemous in this book while being insane and genius at the same time. I feel he purposefully used these as techniques to convey his ideas with maximum emotional impact. Lots of readers may be put off by the huge size of this book. But if you approach it with an open, learned mind and enough time and concentration, Giles Goat-Boy is an enjoyable, deeply satisfying, mind-opening read.
This book has two names and the second name is 'The Revised New Syllabus of George Giles our Grand Tutor'
It was on 'The New York Times bestseller list in 1966 for 12 weeks.
John Barth saw his novel as "the first American postmodernist novel,"
One crazy story about this book is that it was written by a computer program WESCAC.
Giles Goat-Boy is one of Barth's most complex novels, a multi-layered narrative about the spiritual development of George Giles, goat boy. The book also functions as an allegory of the Cold War. Speaking in 2001, John Barth described the novel this way:
"It's a farcical allegory, sophomoric literally and figuratively. It’s about a universe that is a university, or a university that is a universe ... It goes on for too long, but among my objectives in writing the book was to have the chap, given his assignments here, attempt to solve them in a literal fashion, finds out he has to readdress them in a metaphorical fashion. He has to go through something which, while it’s in an exaggerated farce, I wanted to partake of the genuine aspects of the terror of Aristotelian catharsis, the catharsis through ... utter loss of self and its regainment."
Warning: I am a very open-minded person, but still, I feel this book has its fair share of parts that are not for young readers and may offend female readers too and in some cases, it can be racist due to the times in which this book was written, so I call it a book for adult and very open-minded readers.
This book is not like any other so the rating system must be different also. After thinking long and hard, I came up with three conclusions about this problem. I am rating it for three types of people so chose which one you are and then decide to buy the book. because this book can be a treasure to you and for some, it can be garbage. This book is a masterpiece and Mr. Barth is a genius, but to see that you need to understand what Mr. Barth did in this highly allegorized book and if you don't understand this concept then this book is just garbage for you, especially once you go beyond hundred or so pages. I have two copies of this book because I thought I am buying the second part due to the alternate covers, yes this book has nine covers at the time of writing this review.
1- 100/100 If you read a lot of books, don't mind reading books that are basically coded, and whatever is written in these books has a huge or completely different meaning. Then this book is surely for you.
2- 50/100 But you may get bored or may love it if you understood what is happening.
3- 0/100 If you are new to reading. You get bored easily. Not able to understand allegories.
1- 100/100 YES.
2- 50/100 YES, but you may get bored or may love it if you understood what is happening.
3- 0/100 NO, do not buy this if you get confused, tired, and don't understand what allegory is.
Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3w8x39z