Lost in the Funhouse (The Anchor Literary Library) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
£9.51
  • RRP: £9.55
  • You Save: £0.04
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 11 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Trade in your item
Get a £1.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Literary Library) Paperback – 31 May 1969


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£9.51
£4.51 £3.70

Frequently Bought Together

Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Literary Library) + The Crying Of Lot 49
Price For Both: £15.80

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £1.25
Trade in Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Literary Library) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £1.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; Doubleday Anchor ed edition (31 May 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385240872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385240871
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jun 1996
Format: Paperback
In his story, "The Immortal," Jorge Luis Borges describes a
labyrinth as "a structure compounded to confuse men; its
architecture, rich in symmetries, is subordinated to that end."*
Similarly, the stories of Barth's collection _Lost in the Funhouse_,
present a labyrinth of narrative fiction, in their exploration
of the story as medium, voice, and tool of the magician. The
fourteen stories, reflecting Barth's idea of a narrative as
a structure, take the varied forms of Mobius strip, letter,
autobiography, and tale; what makes for additional complexity,
is the insistence by each of the stories' characters (who include
a siamese twin, heroes of the Odyssey,and an abandoned court
minstrel) to have his or her say. Inherent in this is Barth's
insistence on the infinite number of possible constructions
of a narrative, which stun the reader through his descriptions,
plot lines (knots, in some cases), and ideas. Read _Lost
in the Funhouse_ to witness Barth's magic, and to be reminded
of the combined power of voice and language, storytelling.

*(Jorge Luis Borges, "The Immortal," _Labyrinths_: New Directions
Books, 1962.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Dec 2005
Format: Paperback
... is what another minstrel once said, and it best sums up my experience of this book. I'd been well on my way becoming a fan of John Barth after having read "The Floating Opera" but this book made me fall in love with him his writing the narrator who tells the narrated untellable etc. etc.:) In honest, the chaotic whole made up of these seemingly disjointed stories, is simply awe-inspiring. At least two of them, "Echo" and "Menelaide", are my personal favourites. As a reader you are made to pull your own weight in the medium-that-is-the-message part, and it's not always easy. Other times, you are just invited to laugh or wonder or cry and often all at the same time. I am looking forward to reading all of his other books - there's no turning back now...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lost in the Funhouse (1968) is a short story collection by American author John Barth. The postmodern stories are extremely self-conscious and self-reflexive and are considered to exemplify metafiction.

Though Barth's reputation rests mainly on his long novels, the stories "Night-Sea Journey", "Lost in the Funhouse", "Title" and "Life-Story" from Lost in the Funhouse are widely anthologized. The book appeared the year after the publication of Barth's essay The Literature of Exhaustion, in which Barth said that the traditional modes of realistic fiction had been used up, but that this exhaustion itself could be used to inspire a new generation of writers, citing Nabokov, Beckett, and especially Borges as exemplars of this new approach. Lost in the Funhouse took these ideas to an extreme, for which it was both praised and condemned by critics.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By xxx on 16 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Confusing, Hilarious, Profound 5 Jun 2006
By Jonathon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lost in the Funhouse can be a very bewildering and irritating collection if you aren't in the right mood for it. If you aren't well-versed in post-modern fiction (barthelme, calvino, etc are good reference points) you might want to start somewhere else first. Even Barth's novels are more immediately digestible.

With that said, though, this collection doesn't really operate on one consistent level. Perhaps this is because many of these stories were written by Barth much earlier in his career. The three stories concerning Ambrose's birth and development are very straightforward and enjoyable on a surface level until the whole series goes flying into left-field with the titular "Lost in the Funhouse" story (which Barth is probably most known for). From that point on, most of the stories are more about the process of writing and the relationship between the reader, writer, and the characters. Stories like "Title" and "Life-Story" work more as essays on the nature of fiction than actual works of fiction, and were (for me at least) a little tedious. The best moments occur when Barth combines his thoughful analysis on the nature of writing and art with a really good ground-situation, typically based on Greek mythology. The best of these are the utterly raunchy "Petitition" and the labyrinthine "Menelaiad".

Taken as a whole, though, Lost in the Funhouse is greatly satisfying, even if (like me) you really only understood about 20% of what Barth was talking about on your first read-through. It's the sort of book I'll go back to again and again to try and delve deeper into the mystery of the funhouse while appreciating all over the hilarious bawdy humor.

Oh, and make sure to read Barth's seven additional notes at the front of the book (though maybe only after you've read the story that is being discussed in each note, so as not to ruin the initial experience)-- they really help to clarify some of Barth's intentions. I can't even imagine appreciating a story like "Glossolalia" without having read the note concerning it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I write therefore I am... 27 Oct 2007
By Mark Nadja - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In his introduction to this collection of tales, John Barth warns that writing shorting stories isn't his strong suit; he'd rather write novels. Well, I thought, you don't have to read the goat entrails to see this isn't an auspicious augur since *reading* short stories isn't my mine; I prefer novels. Could it be worse? As writer and reader we were perfectly matched: that is, perfectly wrong for each other. What a surprise then! Turns out either writer and/or reader were both happily mistaken and/or correct yet fortuitously found the slim exception to the rule. *Lost in the Funhouse* is a remarkable book--a stunning sampling of erudition, wit, originality, and linguistic pyrotechnics of such deft complexity I dare you not to get lost at least half a dozen times and I double-dare you not to laugh out loud at least as many.

Be forewarned: these aren't the O Henry! type short stories of your grandpappy's day--the kind with clear-cut beginnings, waistlines, and back ends. They aren't cluttered with all those moth-ridden, mold-covered boxes of conceptual costumes from the prehistory of narrative: stuff like character, conflict, setting, dramatic progression, etc. If you're looking for Hemingway or Steinbeck, read Hemingway or Steinbeck. There are characters in Barth's fiction--"voices" properly speaking--but who are they, who are you, who is the author? There is a setting--but exactly where is it, where is anything, are we only *just* imagining it all? There is a story, of sorts--but it's fractured, inconsistent, starts somewhere, progresses a while and could end, like life, like this sentence, at any time, anywhere.

The subjects of these stories are as wildly unlikely as the method of their telling, including: a sperm's journey; Menelaus and Helen after the Trojan War; a young boy's surrealistic experience in a decrepit funhouse by the shore. The stories are linked, so says their author, but only in the most oblique of ways, so says this reader. But it's not important--they each stand alone, linked most obviously by Barth's main concern: the difficulty--if not the sheer impossibility--of telling a simple story at all, of getting at the truth, or the fiction.

Many will be perplexed beyond all patience with *Lost in the Funhouse,* others will dismiss it as self-conscious postmodern prattle, but those who keep going through this maze of distorting mirrors, secret passages, creepy terrors, and ribald comedy will find themselves passing themselves in opposite directions, mystified, charmed, and not a little disconcerted. Barth tells a complex story by *not* telling a story better than most writers tell a story. He clearly knows his way around the conventions and uses them to illustrate how utterly inadequate the conventions are to describing our experience. Barth doesn't bring you to the end or even back to the beginning; he brings you back to the middle which is where you showed up in the first place, exactly where you were when you first realized you were lost.

You can't reader yourself out of this funhouse no more than Barth could write himself out of it and it's at that point you can begin to relax and enjoy the goofy, cheesy horror of it all.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic collection of experimental fiction! 8 Jun 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In his story, "The Immortal," Jorge Luis Borges describes a
labyrinth as "a structure compounded to confuse men; its
architecture, rich in symmetries, is subordinated to that end."*
Similarly, the stories of Barth's collection _Lost in the Funhouse_,
present a labyrinth of narrative fiction, in their exploration
of the story as medium, voice, and tool of the magician. The
fourteen stories, reflecting Barth's idea of a narrative as
a structure, take the varied forms of Mobius strip, letter,
autobiography, and tale; what makes for additional complexity,
is the insistence by each of the stories' characters (who include
a siamese twin, heroes of the Odyssey,and an abandoned court
minstrel) to have his or her say. Inherent in this is Barth's
insistence on the infinite number of possible constructions
of a narrative, which stun the reader through his descriptions,
plot lines (knots, in some cases), and ideas. Read _Lost
in the Funhouse_ to witness Barth's magic, and to be reminded
of the combined power of voice and language, storytelling.

*(Jorge Luis Borges, "The Immortal," _Labyrinths_: New Directions
Books, 1962.)
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Stretching short stories 7 Oct 2002
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I will admit that there are plenty of classic masterpiece quality short stories out there, collections or otherwise. I'm just not an avid reader of them . . . maybe I just like big hefty books, maybe I don't like switching gears every twenty pages or so . . . who knows? But I do like Barth and this is pretty short so I figured, what the hey? Unlike most short story collections which generally just wait until an author has enough stories to fill a book before publishing, this book was originally conceived as a group of short stories that in some form or another share the same thematic elements and much like an album, is sequenced into a proper order and should be read that way. So he says. Barth admits in the foreword that he doesn't normally write short stories and this was his attempt at playing with the medium, which as you might suspect gives you all kinds of hit or miss stories . . . generally the quality is pretty high and for such an academic guy, Barth's pretty funny (he can respect and make fun of mythology at the same time without seeming smug or arch, which I think is hard to do) and if the humor's on, then for the most part that can carry the nuttier moments. Basically it's a "post-modern" sort of short story collection, so there aren't many compromises to things like form or structure or plot (one story is essentially a Moebius strip) which has the effect of making some stories feel like little more than academic exercises in form, rendering them a bit distant emotionally. Like looking at abstract art I guess, you can admire the technique even as you can't appreciate the emotion behind it. But when the collection works, it works great. The title story is my personal favorite, but the last one is the best of the mythology based ones (parts of this seem like a runthrough for Chimera) and overall if you're not looking for Joycean slice of life tales or knotted little tales of suspense, but instead an attempt to bend the rules a bit, then you'll probably like this. Not Barth's best work but it's short and the gems outweigh the duds by a good margin, so it could be worse.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Baffling, though thin 30 Dec 2010
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This collection of stories has become a paradigmatic example of post-modernist fiction. Barth's stylish wit is a wild blend of self-reflexive "meta-fiction," accompanied by bizarre mythological transformations of the American landscape. To my mind, the stories in this collection are rather dated-they no longer ring with the electricity of the moment. Rather, one can almost read them as an era that has passed. Perhaps it is because the stories evoke so little in the way of character, but I found myself always dissatisfied, with the notable exception of the title story.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback