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The British Museum is Falling Down Paperback – 27 Jun 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140062149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140062144
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,055,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Brilliantly funny" (Guardian)

"A comic tour de force...the hapless Appleby remains one of his most keenly observed characters" (Observer) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A brilliant satire from the Booker-shortlisted author of Deaf Sentence, about academia, religion and the perils of 'Vatican roulette'. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Perhaps the most useful description of this novel by the magnificent Mr. Lodge is to explain the effect that it had on me: I ordered everything else he has written.
This is a funny, unapologetically intelligent novel that wrestles with a real issue as it unfolds in deeply funny passages. As you'd expect from a man of Lodge's critical stature, there is an interest too in how books are written and literary style (the protagonist is writing his thesis in the Museum), but this is not a dry intellectual exercise, but a wry, clever and engrossing read.
Since reading this, I have read five other novels by him, culminating in his latest "Thinks..." and I promise that no matter where you start with his work, you'll be glad you got the habit: but please give this one a go.
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Format: Paperback
A comic novel all about birth control - or indeed the lack of it and its effects. The main character, Adam Appleby doesn't live in the garden of Eden; he's trying to get to grips with his thesis but only manages to worry about his ever expanding family.
The British Museum is where he goes to study, and each chapter is neatly prefaced with a literary quotation about it. The edition I have has an added afterword by the author, and this is where I discovered how badly read I am on modern classics, as Lodge has included ten different styles of literary pastiche including Lawrence, Joyce, Greene, Woolf and Hemingway et al. Looking back, I think I can locate some of them, but I will have to re-read some time in the future, (only being familiar with Greene, and having recently read my first Hemingway).
Great fun though even if you don't get all the jokes.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is the story of one day in the life of Adam, a postgraduate student of English literature, desperate to complete his thesis and find a paying job. Adam is a Catholic and he and his wife Barbara have unsuccessfully struggled with the uncertainties of the Catholic method of birth control, resulting in three young children. He worries endlessly about the fact that his wife Barbara may again be pregnant and the financial disaster that will befall them if they have another child. Adam spends his usually uneventful days working in the British Museum reading room (now the British Library of course), but this day is different and a series of events greatly complicates his life. For example, he gets involved in a confusing `cross-wires' phone call that results in the fire brigade being called to the Reading Room and its evacuation; and he attends a drinks reception at his university department and manages to be offered a job, only to be told a few minutes later that it was a misunderstanding and that his friend is to get it.

Most complicated of all, Adam receives a letter from a woman who has unpublished manuscript from a minor writer who was originally going to be the subject of his thesis. Because publication of this might save his academic career, Adam visits the woman, leading to a series of `adventures' involving the women's sex-obsessed teenage daughter, and some sinister foreign butchers who live in the basement of her house. Needless to say the manuscript is rubbish, although he does manage to earn a commission by selling it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I bought this novel, I did not realise that it was a re-issue of an old David Lodge text. I am sure you will find this book riveting if you want to engage with the debate about birth control which is still unresolved within the Roman Catholic Church, as this is the overriding theme. For my part, I am afraid I lost patience with the protagonist and his long.-suffering wife around page 20.
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Format: Paperback
I mulled over whether this gets four or five stars. It got five because, while it isn't a masterpiece, it's a perfect little example of its form. In line with other books I read and love, it probably gets a four, but in terms of books I read that are supposedly "funny", satirical portraits of an aspect of life in pretty (particularly if they are of an "academic" bent), whatever, this pretty much eclipses all others I've read. It's a slim, sprightly volume and slides down very quickly and easily, and it's very very funny. Refreshingly so. It's witty, intelligent, draped in subtle allusions to literary history, and its humour doesn't seem strained or silly.

I liked this a great deal. As comic novels go, this is a very fine example.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This thin tale may be of remote humorous interest to Anglo-Catholics who believe pseudo-academic discussions about Catholic doctrine are "amusing".

Adam Appleby is a Paul Pennyfeather lookalike, who can't have sex with his wife because a priest says so. That's about it.
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Format: Paperback
If you’ve ever struggled with decisions about using birth control (I haven’t) or struggled to write a thesis (I have) then you’ll find much fellow feeling with protagonist Adam Appleby in this book. I’m not well read enough to notice that each chapter was a parody of the style of another author (the afterword informed me), but no matter, it was still an enjoyable read. Although you might think it outdated, published in 1965 when the contraceptive pill was new, it isn’t really and when I wrote this review today (1st September 2015) Pope Francis is in the news for making a statement about abortion.
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