Kindle ePUB [House Mother Normal A Geriatric Comedy zimbabwe] author B.S. Johnson


  • Paperback
  • 208
  • House Mother Normal A Geriatric Comedy
  • B.S. Johnson
  • English
  • 15 January 2019
  • 9781447200383

10 thoughts on “House Mother Normal A Geriatric Comedy

  1. says:

    B S Johnson was an experimental English novelist who is too little known and who took his own life when aged only 40 I was drawn to this particular novel first because of its subject matter; a care home for older people It follows a portion of the day for the residents and the House Mother or matron who is in charge of their care The time period its length isn’t clear includes a meal and clearing up the house song tru

  2. says:

    BS Johnson's fifth experimental novel is a chorus of moribund voices each one distinctly rendered on the page in the form of typographically confused the characters not the author meters With each chapter clocking in at a brief twenty one pages we are given nine different takes on a single day in a grim home for the elderly Each cha

  3. says:

    My brother's review of this excellent book is spot on I totally agree with him that this book deserves all those glitterin

  4. says:

    “I wish I’d been kind to old people then now I know how it is It’s always the same you cannever know until you actually are And then it’s too late You realise which are the importantthings only when it’s

  5. says:

    Since I've recently become a sucker for white space in fiction ;; just a moment to note the wonderful white space

  6. says:

    Let me tell you the reasons why I consider this book not normalFirst it came upon me while I was alone by myself in a mall after my wife and

  7. says:

    Disappointing especially after a strong beginning I feel bad giving this so few stars when it did so many thing

  8. says:

    35 rounded downI'd read and enjoyed a few of Johnson's works but came to THIS one due to the titular character also being prominent in the recent and bizarre We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff I didn't find some of this terribly accessible since the UK references didn't resonate for me plus it is structured in such a way that o

  9. says:

    Readers and critics have commented on BS Johnson's experimental use of telling a tale Which is perfectly true but also he is so far or what I have read is very much a straight ahead narrative writer He has a great imagination and skills in relating the narrative is a slightly different way but he's totally readable for everyone wh

  10. says:

    I'd originally heard that this was stream of consciousness from nine characters all happening at once in real time which made me prepare myself a total chaos of interleaved simultaneous events Which makes the actual 21 parallel pages per character cover exactly the same time period format seem almost gentle and simple by compariso

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B.S. Johnson ´ 1 SUMMARY

House Mother Normal A Geriatric Comedy

Eight residents in a home for the elderly sit down to dinner along with the House Mother herself and each takes it in turn to relay the proceedin. B S Johnson was an experimental English novelist who is too little known and who took his own life when aged only 40 I was drawn to this particular novel first because of its subject matter a care home for older people It follows a portion of the day for the residents and the House Mother or matron who is in charge of their care The time period its length isn t clear includes a meal and clearing up the house song truly awful some work including sticking together Christmas crackers and putting stuff in bottles pass the parcel and dancing although I m not convinced dancing is what is being described in some cases as it seems to involve mops and wheelchairs and resembles jousting Each of the residents has allotted 21 pages the events happen at exactly the same point in each narrative so that comparisons can be made At the very beginning there is a description of each resident s medical conditions and capabilities including a score relating to a set of uestions meant to assess cognitive abilities The residents are given their say starting with the younger and cognitively able and ending with those who have little or no verbal ability and much of the last two or three resident s pages are virtually blank The House Mother has her say last of all and has an extra page Johnson himself described what he wanted to do with the novel What I wanted to do was to take an evening in an old people s home and see a single set of events through the eyes of not less than eight old people Due to the various deformities and deficiencies of the inmates these events would seem to be progressively abnormal to the reader At the end there would be the viewpoint of the House Mother an apparently normal person and the events themselves would then be seen to be so bizarre that everything that had come before would seem normal by comparison The idea was to say something about the things we call normal and abnormal and the technical difficulty was to make the same thing interesting nine times over since that was the number of times the events would have to be described Each of the old people was allotted a space of twenty one pages and each line on each page represented the same moment in each of the other accounts this meant an unjustified right hand margin and led than one reviewer to imagine the book was in verse House Mother s account has an extra page in which she is shown to be the puppet or concoction of a writer youalways knew there was a writer behind it allAh there s no fooling you readers Nor should there be It is described as a geriatric comedy but the comedy is very bleak indeed There is of a growing sense of horror as the petty tyranny and brutality gradually come across to the reader There might be a temptation to say that all the abuse is the invention of the writer but unfortunately I can assure you that it is not Whilst there is an oddity in some of the abuse here most of it is plausible and has been done It is only necessary to recall the Winterbourne view case this will be familiar to those in the UK which was uite recent As Johnson says this is a study of what is normal and abnormal but it is also a study in the use and abuse of power exercised over the weak and vulnerable Johnson manages to make the voices of the residents poignant and human as they look back over their lives and loves He also captures the disconnectedness of cognitive deficit very well He doesn t in my opinion uite get advanced dementia right communication may be very limited but I don t believe the mind is as blank as he indicates This is a brave and interesting novel There have been some critics who have noted that this could be seen as a deeply unpleasant book and calling it a comedy is not appropriate This misses the point Johnson does try to make the reader laugh with his descriptions of some of the events However because of the poignancy and humanity of the pen portraits the reader realises what they are laughing at is the abuse and brutalisation of a vulnerable human being There is also a sense of the writer reminding the reader that this could be where they are headed too and will it be any better then

REVIEW ☆ SABLEYES.CO.UK ´ B.S. Johnson

Gs of the evening from their own individual perspective By virtue of the novel’s clever structure the reader’s comprehension of events is lim. I wish I d been kind to old people then now I know how it is It s always the same you cannever know until you actually are And then it s too late You realise which are the importantthings only when it s too late that s the trouble House Mother Normal is the stream of senile consciousness And we try to decipher these chaotic torrents into the lives of those in whose heads the consciousness is lockedThe characters attempt to look back at their past My true love went once round fingering blue hair he had with his long black eyes four foot three in his bloomers I remember him so clearly it was in a pub we first met I was with my mates at the time he was with his Yellow jumper and pale skirt He was my first it was raining at the time And they endeavour to face their present misery How can I think about anything else it s constant the pain what else is there to think about it goes round and round in circles my mind off it on it not very often off it And there is the House Mother who knows all her residents and who is like God to themAnd there is the Author who is God to them all The joys of life continue strongThroughout old age however longIf only we can cheerful stayAnd brightly welcome every day

SUMMARY House Mother Normal A Geriatric Comedy

Ited so as to allow them a powerful experience Johnson’s humorous yet deeply compassionate depiction of what it means to live life and grow old. Disappointing especially after a strong beginning I feel bad giving this so few stars when it did so many things wellThe novel is set in a home for the elderly There are 8 residents and 1 House Mother who cares for them In each of the 9 chapters you get to live inside the head of one of these characters After some obligatory facts and figures about their health and mental awareness etc you are dumped into that character s head for 21 pages Each page is like a musical score in that the characters thoughts mark out the time sometimes blank spaces will show periods of thoughtlessness or sleep Each chapter covers the same period of time so that you can cross reference one character with another to understand better the interactions going on It reminded me of layers in photoshop where you can put them all on top of each other or view them individually But if you just read one character s perspective some of it may not make as much sense When you ve read all 9 accounts a full picture forms Another analogy is reading music the different harmonic parts coming and going but specifically what it would feel like to read those musical notes if only I could read music rather than listen to them togetherOr it s like Virginia Woolf if she were an anal accountant of thoughts rather than a poet of themThat makes it seem like I didn t like it But I did I liked that part because I still have Woolf for Woolf but this gives me a different approach to that stream of consciousness that may be less poetic but interesting in other waysSpecifically when we get to the very senile residents at the end George and Rosetta Even though the pages are mostly blank with one or two words you can still build much in your mind just because you know what else is going on in the other people s headsThe voices and backstories of all the characters were fun to read too although part of me has the same problem with it as I do with most stream of consciousness writing which is that people don t actually think this way They don t recount their life story over and over again like this It becomes very obviously a device for storytelling Of course for the sake of artifice I see why it s better to do it this way otherwise it would be TRULY boring to read it So onward to my uibblesFirst the tiny uibble It is a bit tedious Once the initial excitement of the idea subsides once you get to the oh so necessary execution part it s a little bit of a slog to read through despite the sprinkling of interesting humor and connectionsMain uibble view spoilerthe House Mother caretaker herself I was so looking forward to seeing her perspective because it was the last chapter and would finally tie all the perspectives together But then instead of adding insight it just became a parody She was a joke Is it too much to ask for the House Mother to be as developed of a character as the others Johnson really dropped the ball on this oneAnd then that obligatory nod to the author breaking of the fourth wall at the very end which was done for no reason Perhaps when this was written it was still fresh enough to be shocking But here it just seems so dated and pointless Did we really need to be reminded that we were reading a book at the very end How did this meta uality tie in to the actual themes of the book instead of sticking out like a sore thumb I understand using meta devices if that meta ness has something to do with your book like in Textermination which I read recently But here it is tacked on and tackyIt s like BS Johnson wrote a pretty good 4 star experimental novel with the potential of nudging it up to a 5 star book if the last chapter was stellar but then he decided to make a mockery of the whole thing shoot himself in the foot and laugh at the reader for having enjoyed what he read hide spoiler


About the Author: B.S. Johnson

B S Johnson Bryan Stanley Johnson was an English experimental novelist poet literary critic and film makerJohnson was born into a working class family was evacuated from London during World War II and left school at sixteen to work variously as an accounting clerk bank junior and clerk at Standard Oil Company However he taught himself Latin in the evenings attended a year's pre univers