Synopses & Reviews
Using the venerable literary device of the bedtime story, which links fictions as different as The Arabian Nights and Charlotte's Web, John Barth ingeniously interweaves stories from an ongoing, high-spirited but deadly serious nocturnal game of tale-telling by a more or less desperate loving couple vacationing at their "last resort". As Scheherazade spun out her bedtime stories to save her life, the narrator of On with the Story spins out his to postpone The End, and to explore en route - wittily, mournfully, tenderly - love in modern life and postmodern literature. As the narrative cycles through the lifescapes of his subjects' stories, Barth affords a view both panoramic and microscopic of our own landscape. With eye and pen both sharp and beautiful he depicts love ranging from the obsessively puppy through the sophisticatedly fatigued, the delusionally murderous, even the quantum-physical, to the superbly fulfilled.