A Calling for Charlie Barnes (Hardback)
  • A Calling for Charlie Barnes (Hardback)
zoom

A Calling for Charlie Barnes (Hardback)

(author)
2 Reviews Sign in to write a review
? RRP £16.99
£8.50
Save £8.49 (50%)
Hardback 352 Pages
Published: 16/09/2021
  • In stock

Usually dispatched within 2-3 working days

  • This item has been added to your basket
Waterstones Says

A stunning novel from the author of The Dinner Party, A Calling for Charlie Barnes is both a brutally funny portrait of a fantasist father and his truth-hungry son, and a bittersweet elegy to dreams that keep slipping through our fingers.

From the Booker-shortlisted author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour comes a novel about fathers, sons, thwarted dreams and confronting the reality of who we really are.

Charlie Barnes is a mid-century man devoted to his newspaper and his landline. But Charlie is about to get dragged into our troubled age by his storyteller son, who has a different idea of him than he has of himself. Then there are his other children, his ex-wives, present wife, business clients, friends and acquaintances, all of whom have their competing opinions of Charlie.

He certainly seems simple enough: he's a striver, a romantic, and a thoroughgoing capitalist. But suddenly blindsided by the Great Recession and a dose of bad news, he might have to rethink his life from top to bottom, and on short notice. What makes a man real? What makes him good? And how does the story we tell about ourselves line up with the lives that we actually live?

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241202869
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 573 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A hilarious skewering of the American Dream by the man who must be the funniest writer we have - Sathnam Sanghera, Guardian, Best Books of 2021

This is a fine American novel about family, love, and a decent but flawed man trying to be better. In dark times like these, I can't recommend this book too highly - Stephen King

Splendid . . . it is hard to be genuinely funny in a novel but the final 50 or so pages, in which Charlie's family confront Jake Barnes, the fourth wall-breaking narrator of the novel, over the content of the tell-all memoir, was easily the most hilarious chapter of a novel I read all year - Martin Chilton, Independent, 20 Best Books of 2021

Until I read A Calling For Charlie Barnes, Joshua Ferris's virtuosic third novel, I couldn't recall the last time a book caused me to both laugh and gasp aloud. Madly funny and bristling with intelligence, this is the story of a man in later life wallowing in the detritus of the American Dream and of the children witnessing his decline - Megan Nolan, New Statesman, Books of the Year

Simultaneously narratively courageous and utterly hilarious . . . where it leaves the reader feels special and unique - Sunday Times

In Ferris's admirably risk-taking hands, this novel becomes so much more than simply another story of failed American dreams. Ferris has made himself into the leading writer of the American workplace . . . He understands both its absurdities (and this is another very funny book) and its rewards, but most of all he understands how it shapes modern America - Observer

Ferris could write enthralling realist fiction in his sleep but it's the ideas and formal ingenuity that really set this novel apart . . . [he considers] the role of storytelling in families, the myths we create and the possibility that there is no such thing as telling it straight - i

Brilliant, funny, heartbreaking . . . Family, memory, ambition and death, all told with dervishing glee. Not just a daredevil of a novel, but something truly new - Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less

Ferris is on his finest deadpan form here, skewering contemporary America and the shallow values it embodied in the heat of the 2008 financial crash - Spectator

Inventive and witty, tender and wise. It's a portrait of life, love and death, and much else besides - Daily Mail

This is the story of one disappointed idealist told by another, of one unreliable narrator described by another, and it is animated by filial love . . . funny, moving - and surprising - Guardian

This novel is funny - Ferris has lovely comic timing and a great way with the sheer silliness of a family's mental and physical bric-a-brac - and very moving - Guardian

Dazzling . . . A more tender novel than Ferris's others, but that doesn't keep it from being murderously funny . . . [he has found] precisely the right way to meld memoir with satire, to do this with bracing originality and to keep heads spinning from this novel's first page to its last . . . he's risen to the top of his game - New York Times

Funny, moving, and formally a work of genius, A Calling for Charlie Barnes is quite literally the book Joshua Ferris was born to write. - Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire

Dazzling. Mind-blowing. About as much fun as you can have without risking arrest - Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

A deeply funny, very moving book . . . Ferris's hijinks are serious; his play is profound. There is magic in these pages - Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies

A touching tale about the love between fathers and sons - The Times

A passionate, well-constructed, often hilarious and, at times, profound plunge into grief, both civic and intimate, as well as a culmination (so far) of the literary explorations he has been undertaking since he arrived - Sam Lipsyte, New York Times Book Review

A Calling for Charlie Barnes is wonderful: fast and deep, urgent and brilliant . . . A hilarious, intimate, and scathing takedown of so many American vanities - Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia

He has proved that he's one of the best American authors of comic fiction working today. His humour is on full display but so are his intelligence and compassion. It's a masterpiece that shines a revealing light on both family and fiction itself - NPR

Ferris's work cuts to the heart of who we are by focusing very painfully on who one man was . . . Consider this book not just a work of grief or love or memoir, then, but a work of hope, too. - Publishers Weekly

A warmly bullish but measured and reflectful voice that brings out all the humour and wisdom of the novel - The Times, Audiobook of the Week

Intriguing and intelligent . . . the humour throughout is exquisitely judged . . . and the descent into metafiction, the novel's true crowning glory, is extremely well done without ever feeling hammy or clunky - Irish Times

A relentlessly self-reflective book - FT

Joshua Ferris has proved his astonishing ability to spin gold from ordinary air . . . As brave and adept as any writer out there - New York Times Book Review on To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Not too many authors have written the Great American Office Novel... Then We Came to the End feels like a readymade classic of the genre. . . . A truly affecting novel about work, trust, love, and loneliness - Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times on Then We Came to the End

Dismayingly funny in the way that only really serious books can be - Guardian, on 'To Rise Again at a Decent Hour'

Brilliant, funny, stomach-turningly accurate - Observer, on 'Then We Came to the End'

Very funny, intense and exhilarating - The Times, on 'Then We Came to the End'

You may also be interested in...

Babel
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
The Housemaid
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Last Devil to Die
Added to basket
£22.00   £16.99
Hardback
The Bee Sting
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
I Will Find You
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
This Family
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
The Marriage Portrait
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
Prophet Song
Added to basket
£16.99
Hardback
Small Things Like These
Added to basket
£8.99   £7.49
Paperback
Antarctica
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
The Cloisters
Added to basket
£8.99   £7.49
Paperback
Days at the Morisaki Bookshop
Added to basket
£10.99   £9.49
Paperback
Once Upon A Broken Heart
Added to basket
Close to Home
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
Demon Copperhead
Added to basket
£9.99   £8.49
Paperback
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
Added to basket

“Funny, surprising and moving exploration of vocation and the American Dream”

I absolutely loved this novel - brilliantly written, constantly surprising and funny and moving at the same time.

'A Calling for Charlie Barnes' begins in 2008, around the time of the financial crash.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5

“Clever and singular”

This is a clever novel with a singular voice - I can see why it’s not for everyone but it really rewards close reading and I was very proud of myself for some of the deductions I’d made along the way! Essentially... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.

env: aptum
branch: