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Nightwood

Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Literature & Fiction
3.6 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

Nightwood, Djuna Barnes's strange and sinuous tour de force novel unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe's great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna - a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous.

The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction - there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O'Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions.

Barnes's depiction of these characters and their relationships has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.

©1937 Djuna Barnes; preface copyright 2006 by Jeanette Winterson (P)2017 Tantor

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  • Darwin8u
  • 18-01-20

The unendurable is the beginning of the curve...

“The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.” - Djuna Barnes, Nightwood I listened to this novel one night as I drove from Phoenix to Las Vegas. It was ominously dark, beautiful and creepy. I guess that equally applies to the book as to the drive. Art exists when something can be both creepy and beautiful at the same time. This isn't David Lynch, but I can imagine few other directors directing this book into a movie. Nightwood also gave my The Alexandria Quartet vibes. Barnes like Durrell can capture the humanity of freaks and outcasts. She can disturb you and seduce you at the same time. I can see veins of Nightwood web through the later novels by Patricia Highsmith. As a CIS white male, reading books like Nightwood are useful. They give me a glimpse or shade of an experience that is completely foreign to mine. But, I'm not sure how far to extend that because at times, reading Nightwood felt like I was traveling through a nightmare drunk. I was disoriented, disturbed, and on shifting literary sand. But I have rarely read something that felt more like a trip.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Keeano Agustiadi
  • 06-03-20

Eloquent

It was really hard to understand but listening to it helped my poetic language for English class.

1 person found this helpful