When I received this book from a friend, he warned me that the end was devastating In its way, it is But the entire thing is a work of wonder Empathy doesn t get much exacting than this, and the late John Berger brought precisely the right touch to the proceedings. Amazing Great prose Great story From the perspective of a homeless dog.
The streets are dressing up All the streets will sing tonight Some will get drunk Others won t stop laughing Some will dance without stopping once This street will sit down to eat all night like a man This one will arrange marriages like a woman And this one which leads to a flight of steps will wait for its sailors to come home pg 164 165 From the perspective of a dog, Berger offers a view of the world from the bottom King, a street dog, has found his home among the marginalized who have built a small makeshift neighborhood in the un developed space adjacent to a freeway Beyond creating a narrative that focuses mainly on what King sees, hears, and smells along with his daily telepathic conversations with Vica and Vico, his owners so to speak, Berger weaves a pointed criticism of the modern dog eat dog society In this piece of fiction, Berger aims to show what has always concerned him in his nonfiction works that in our continual competition with each other over resources, land, money, and material acquisition we are systematically devouring ourselves There are beasts among us and they are not the street dogs In fact, you probably voted for the beasts. ( Book ) ♰ King: A Street Story ☪ With The Poetic Acuity That Renders His Work Timeless, Booker Prize Winning Author John Berger Brings Us A Hour Chronicle Of Homelessness Beside A Highway, In A Wasteland Furnished With Smashed Trucks And Broken Washing Machines, Lives A Vagrant Community Of Once Hopeful Individuals, Now Abandoned By The Twentieth CenturyKing, Our Narrator, Is The Guardian Of A Homeless Couple, Stealing Meat From The Butcher And Sharing The Warmth Of His Flesh His Canine Sensibility Affords Him Both Amnesty From Human Hardship And Rare Insight Into His Companions Lives Through His Senses We See Clearly And Unsentimentally The Dignity And Strength That Can Survive Within Chaos And Pain A beautiful, poetic, and intoxicating book Surreal and ethereal at times Now and then I wanted of a story or plot to move the pages along, but when I slowed down and took in Berger s spirit, I was most content Who knew a dog narrator book could be so good Rating this book caused me a lot of internal conflict And now here it is with its not so fancy two star rating and you re probably wondering, Well, Charlie, you obviously weren t impressed, so why the conflict My explanation is this Berger is an amazing writer Some of the lines in this book are so beautifully written that I wish I d kept King at its original three star rating But the problem is that when all was said and done, the quality of the writing didn t knock me over than the characters disinterested me JB gives us a handful of vagrants and tells us of their life from the perspective of a dog Well, I m a cat person, so shame on me and shame on Berger for not catering to that side of me Additionally, we re given these characters who are sad and forgotten by society and the truth is that I WANT to want to care about them and I don t The majority of the characters are mentioned in the first chapter and that not really handled again until the end King is dog, albeit a gracefully spoken and intelligent dog, but therein lies the problem by being a dog, he in fact lacks humanity And his owners, Vico and Vica are what are they Forgettable Yes, they re homeless Yes, that s a shame But give me something to grasp here other than a throw away reference to not having had fire insurance and one of the character s real names from his past life Yes, the characters are insightful and well spoken Yes, if I was rating this book based on JB s writing alone, I d probably give it a three maybe a four, the guy s got a knack But, in the end, when I m left feeling like the book I ve just read was an unentertaining mess of characters I didn t care for in a situation I couldn t and hopefully never will have to relate to, this book has earned two stars, no , no less. My friend Colleen gave this book to me The narrator, a dog in England, describes his relationships with the people he lives with a group of homeless folks squatting on land between a motorway and the sea Very interesting Memorable line occurs on page 73, when the character Vico, commenting on pillars carved into the likeness of naked women, said, They were a signof a confident civilization which displayed in public art what it liked to enjoy in secret I thought this book was rich in both ideas and the sounds of language, whatever that means Thanks Colleen. I felt that this book got better towards the end It took a while for me to feel much connection with the characters, even by the end I felt of a connection with the concept of their home rather than the people themselves I think It wasn t necessarily a book that I always wanted to pick up, but there were some lovely poetic paragraphs throughout The end was both emotive and made me think both good things For those who ve read Pig Earth and Once in Europa, this is a dark extension of the story of Europe s transformation over the course of the 20th century In his haunting, lyrical way, Berger manages to tell the story of a squatter community on the outskirts of a coastal city from the point of view of a dog A sad and disturbing story, perhaps even timely as temporary encampments grow up to house refugees but, as always, beautifully told.