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Monday, October 10, 2016

House Mother Normal (1970) by B.S. Johnson

Book Review
House Mother Normal (1970)
 by B.S. Johnson

   Experimental fiction is kind of a drag, until you stop reading any for a few months, at which point a certain nostalgia can attach, until you read another work of experimental fiction.  Such was the case with House Mother Normal by famed English experimentalist B.S. Johnson.  Johnson was more or less ignored during his lifetime, which ended tragically by his own hand at the age of 40.

  House Mother Normal takes the form of a chronological stream of consciousness narrative from the residents of a nursing home.  The level of cognition ranges from a comprehensible narrative to random phrases sprawled across the page in a non "literary" fashion.  The viewpoints are diverse, ranging from a more or less happy, intact consciousness to a man suffering terribly from anal cancer and attributing it to his sodomy of a young boy when he was a sailor.

  House Mother Normal is likely to make the reader contemplate old age and death and length.

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