Read Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna Online


A darkly comic novel about a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, set against the backdrop of a London awash with faithless lovers, cutthroat strivers, and so-called friends   One day successful young journalist and dedicated urbanite Rosa Lane sends her boss an e-mail that says "I quit" and then walks out of her job. She can't explain why--not to Liam, who's livedA darkly comic novel about a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, set against the backdrop of a London awash with faithless lovers, cutthroat strivers, and so-called friends  One day successful young journalist and dedicated urbanite Rosa Lane sends her boss an e-mail that says "I quit" and then walks out of her job. She can't explain why--not to Liam, who's lived with her for years; not to her friends; not to her anxious, recently widowed father. All Rosa knows is that she needs to find enlightenment, to somehow understand her mother's death and do more than just earn her living.Thus begins the piercingly wise and bitingly funny odyssey of Rosa Lane. Along the way, she is deceived by her lover, evicted by her roommate, threatened by her bank manager, picked over by prospective employers, befuddled by philosophy, and tormented by omnivorous London. Brought very low indeed, Rosa in her desperation makes a final assault on those who have done her wrong, leading to the beginning of her return to normality--whatever that is.In a remarkable fiction debut, Joanna Kavenna displays lacerating wit, a perfect eye for social hypocrisies, and great depths of compassion to create a triumphant modern heroine. ...

Title : Inglorious
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780805081893
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Inglorious Reviews

  • Hugh
    2019-05-03 02:28

    This is an original and intriguing black comedy with roots in existentialist philosophy. I can't write a review that does it justice, so instead I will recommend this one by Antonomasia, who recommended the book to me last year: the surface and particularly in the early parts, it reads like a simple mid-life crisis novel with a feminist spin, but Kavenna is far too serious and philosophical for that to be a fair representation. It is just as much about the empty concerns and vacuity of modern life and the impossibility of finding enough time to rationalise it.The story charts the mental disintegration of Rosa, a London journalist in her mid thirties with a comfortable middle class lifestyle and similar friends. At the start of the book she resolves to leave her job, partly because she feels she can no longer write coherently, but it becomes clear that the crisis has more to do with her mother's death and the decline of her decade-long relationship with Liam, who has refused to marry her. Liam soon ends the relationship and Rosa moves out of their flat, depending on the charity of friends for somewhere to stay. Liam is soon engaged to one of her friends, and so far all of this is classic rom-com cliche. Rosa's thoughts run to higher things - her to-do list is repeated and modified at regular intervals and includes things like: Read the comedies of Shakespeare, the works of Proust, the plays of Racine and Corneille and The Man Without Qualities Read The Golden Bough, the Nag-Hammadi Gospels, The Upanishads, The Koran, The Bible, The Tao, the complete works of E. A. Wallis BudgeRead Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Bacon, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and the restHoover the living roomClean the toiletDistinguish the various philosophies of the way - read History of Western PhilosophyIt soon becomes clear that she will never achieve any of these goals, instead she vainly tries to get various unsuitable jobs, to resolve her mounting money problems and find somewhere else to stay, while getting distracted by occasional deeper thoughts and glimpses of ideas with greater significance. She is also half-heartedly involved in a relationship with Andreas, a much younger male actor, and she is unable to face asking her father for help. At one point she makes a desperate journey to visit a happily married couple in the Lake District. I'm not sure how deliberate the errors in the train's route were - this may have been done to illustrate her confusion but no train leaving Euston can possibly be calling at Luton, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Preston, Manchester Piccadilly, Kendal, Oxenholme and Glasgow Central.I was reminded of all sorts of other writers - Sartre, J.G. Farrell, Cortazar and Bernice Rubens to name just four, but perhaps it is closest in spirit to early Rachel Cusk, particularly The Country Life.

  • Antonomasia
    2019-04-28 00:35

    [4.5]What a poorly-skewed ratings graph this book has on Goodreads. But the reviews here (and on Amazon) explain why: it's been mis-marketed. Does that cover look like quite a serious philosophical novel to you? Nope, I didn't think so. Only this cover suits it. People will judge and choose by covers, no matter what old adages say. And a lot of the blurbs sound altogether too chicklitty. The quotes from the serious press make sense but "Smart, funny and warm"? I think someone sentElle a Kathy Lette novel in the wrong cover for them to come up with that melted cheese. No-wonder there are so many reader reviews that seem to be missing the point and often the references in the book, saying it's miserable, or criticising the lack of a shiny happy self-helpy conclusion. Dropping out of society and being all existentialist is, in art and fiction, historically a male occupation. That hadn't bothered me especially as I didn't see it as meaning women couldn't, just that fiction - not reality - considered them to have different preoccupations, plus I'm perfectly capable of identifying with different gendered characters. In an interview Joanna Kavenna said:"I remember as a teenager reading all these canonical books by Lawrence and Camus on what was always billed as 'the human condition'. It's only much later that you start to think, 'where are all the women?'" Whereas my conclusion was that hardly any female writers were interested in producing work along those lines.I hoped I would at some point they would and I'd notice it; those I'm now aware of have all been very recent creations. The film Wendy & Lucy was the first one I remember. And now this and Come to the Edge - a novel which Joanna Kavenna wrote straight after Inglorious but which wasn't published until seven years later.Both are novels of (similar) ideas but with different tones. Inglorious is serious though there are lines at which some might laugh in dark humour, and it doesn't explain itself directly. As in the later book, which I read first, there is a critique of capitalist society and the expected trajectory of an orderly life, which simultaneously understands the love of that society's trappings. (The heroine, Rosa, visits the home of some married friends: "Three children, it was a towering achievement. And the place was a work of art...Everything was immaculate.” ... Her covering letters on job applications have all the satiric rage and righteousness of the newly manic Dennis Bagley in How to Get Ahead in Advertising.)Rosa's journey, most of which is around the streets in duller areas of West London, closely mirrors the protagonist's experience in Knut Hamsun's Hunger and the narrative often reminded me of the Norwegian book. Another review alludes to Dostoevsky. Her swing from colour-supplement success story with a happy family background, to starving, uncompromising, occasionally hallucinatory, dropout intellectual is precipitated by events that populate mainstream fiction: the death of her mother, walking out of a media job, the end of her moribund relationship - things sometimes trivialised when they belong to certain types of people in stories, especially younger middle-class women. But these things can be harrowingly painful with the depth of centuries, even though their surface outlines are templates for cheap station novels with pink covers, or films starring Jennifer Aniston. And I think Kavenna is trying to point this out in Inglorious. She said in the same article I quoted above: "what happens if women write books that are solely about women trying to struggle with life – do they get accepted as representations of the human condition, or is it just the female condition?" No, I don't think people have a problem accepting them as part of the human condition if the work is intellectually serious - and I've seen at least as many men as women give high opinions of such works. (However, chicklit is perhaps regarded more dismissively than the smaller number of similar popular novels by and about men.)The modern setting made aspects of Hunger even clearer to me, and more pertinent, in particular its illustration of the mismatch between the money system and the human need for self-expression and actualisation - which is insoluble for most except the relatively well-off and a few off-grid survivalists. There is also a fantastically evoked sensation of grasping around for things, for the levers which work the world, through a fog which has descended. Part of the fog is unfortunately others' lack of understanding. Most of Rosa's friends can't comprehend life off their own tramlines and sneer at her - yet she is acting like the subjects in many works of art they no doubt admire, with her unusually idea-based depression. Though their worst actions are to catalogue cruelly to her face her failings during the last days of her dying relationship, as if they hadn't realised that everything which had happened was more than enough. Those who try to be helpful are ultimately very boundaried and intent on remaining immersed in their own lives and convenience. But then what else is anyone supposed to do? Co-dependent helping would be "unhealthy" or smothering or both. Another insoluble problem of how society works. If I hadn't read Granta 123: The Best of Young British Novelists 4, I can't imagine I'd have picked up a book that looked like this, or gone beyond dismissing its synopsis (the old one on here ... I replaced it on Goodreads with one from the author's website mentioning "Dante's centre point of life", which gives a better impression of what's inside). hopefully a few more readers who'll like this will find it now, undeterred by average ratings from those who wanted to read something completely different.

  • David Grieve
    2019-05-16 20:33

    One of the best books I have read for a long time. A thirty something journalist walks out of her job shortly after her mother has died. She has also split up with her long term partner as the relationship has decayed over time.She relies on friends and her father to support her as she runs out of money but doesn't have the wherewithal to get another job.She is totally self absorbed as her mental state declines and the question is whether her friends are shabbily turning their backs on her or whether she is driving them away.Repetitive and introspective it may be but it is also thought provoking and, in parts, very funny.

  • Kelly Kapoor
    2019-04-24 01:41

    I absolutely *hate* giving books below three stars, but lord, what did I just read? I admire it as a concept - woman enters into destitution to find herself/express millennial woes (I mean, I read an article about this in the Guardian this week, it's a thing, almost seven years later). But Kavenna sets herself up to fail: it's a novel about being unable to act, being stuck in a mental cycle, and therefore the outside world remains largely inert. This would be fine if the minimal tension there is wasn't entirely contingent on the character's finances running out/her not having anywhere to live. I never believe this is the case (not to give much away, but the character has enough money on her to buy an impromptu one-way ticket abroad at the end). There are no true observations about what it's like to feel poor, or to feel insecure for the first time ever. The other characters are simply unbelievable, because their reactions are - presumably - meant to make Rosa, the lead character, more sympathetic? The causal relationships between events were never clear. That is always the case in real life, but in this novel, it meant that we never have a sense of what's happening in Rosa's material world. Maybe that was Kavenna's intention but I think there has to be a kind of nod to the reader ('the character thinks this, but THIS is actually happening'). The prose just wasn't exhilarating enough for me to want to immerse myself in the character's mental state. I think amazing writing could have saved this (because there needs to be amazing writing to make me feel that the events, however small, or mental, are significant).

  • Alistair
    2019-05-01 00:35

    i bought this book on spec largeley because it had a dog on the cover and one of the reviewers said the tone was somewhere between Bridget Jones and Philip Larkin . i soon forgot about the dog because this is a brilliant account of someone having a nervous breakdown and driven almost mad and paranoid because she gave up her job , lost her mother and her boyfriend in short succession the Bridget Jones connection comes only because , Rosa whose nervous breakdown is described , is a thirty something single woman living in london , who once had a glamorous job . however she never desired Colin Firth and seems to have a very different mind to your average chick lit heroine , not that i would know having never delved beyond the frothy pink covers of a chick lit novel . not many chicklitters refer to Robert Musil's " Man without Qualities " Rosa has a mind like Philip Larkin , minus the dirty old man bits . mordaunt and melancholy but a bit less controlled than Larkin . After quitting her job as a journalist Rosa quickly discovers how important work is to the majority of people . it gives them an identity , a position in a certain strata of society , money of course which helps , and provides a comfort blanket however tatty . after all " what do you do ? " is probably the second most asked question on first aquaintance , after " where do you live ? " . people never ask what they really want to know , which is " how much do you earn ? " the set pieces in the book are brilliant , particularly her meeting with her father on a day trip to london which is poignant, and the visit to a smug family in the Lake District which is very funny . there are some repetitions particularly when Rosa is walking the streets of London but this only emphasises her obsessions and alienation . i have feeling that some readers will be unsympathetic to Rosa and find it one long whine , but i thought it was all brilliant even though she is not a likeable figure .after all she is weak , self obsessed and defensive . She is far more likeable than most of her associates we are introduced to . I liked her . weak ending but that is the bane of most books even very good ones like this . i think this is up for some literary prize . it won't win , it is far too good .

  • Mary
    2019-04-26 20:18

    I had high hopes for this book. It has a compelling premise: a thirty-something woman, whose mother has died, walks out of her own life—quits her job, breaks up with her boyfriend, and starts couch surfing. It seems as though an interesting philosophical journey will unfold. But her Bartelby-like approach quickly becomes infuriating and annoying. Perhaps this is because Rosa’s inner dialogues are too repetitive, focused as they are on being broke. She isn’t likable, with her “oh-poor-me, why doesn’t someone give me a break” whining, while refusing to actually get a job. Bizarrely, a large portion of the plot is devoted to Rosa trying to get her bank to give her a break.Rosa is obsessed with making lists, and this provides a bare structure for the book. Kavenna hardly goes anywhere philosophically; Rosa lamely cites a few philosophers while going about her pathetic list-making. There was a missed opportunity here for a novel that might seriously explore the difficulty some people have functioning in society. Rosa could have discovered something that would allow her to move forward, finding an alternative way of existing outside society or an inner philosophy to shore up her existential crisis. Instead, she makes no journey at all.

  • Jayne Charles
    2019-04-30 02:14

    This was a profound and quite moving novel which, against all expectations, sustained its intensity right through to the end, never letting up at all. It is surely the work of an awesome intellect. The story follows Rosa, a journalist who suffers a sort of early mid-life crisis following the death of her mother, quits her job and slides into poverty and mental instability. Suddenly she is aware of the futility of her own existence, and the fundamental questions of philosophy are suddenly all too important, and prevent her from pulling herself together. Though told in the third person, Rosa's 'voice' comes across very clearly, and the enormity of the outside world, as she views it walking through the streets of London, is fascinating viewed through her eyes. Not a detail is missed, and it is reminiscent of James Joyce's 'Ullyses' though - dare I say it - better and more enjoyable. I also admired the author's ability to zero in on the telling details - the bank employee with his 'faceful of compelling moles', and the ageing man who sits opposite Rosa on the train, banging into her and taking so long over his apology that they were 'in danger of having a conversation' !

  • Alicia
    2019-05-06 20:34

    The jacket describes this novel as "piercingly wise and bitingly funny" with a main character who is "a triumphant modern heroine." I can;t think of worse ways to describe this book, which was profoundly depressing. The main character, a successful journalist, suffers a sort of mid-life crisis after the death of her mother and abruptly quits her job. Then her boyfriend of ten years dumps her for another woman, and all her friends are jackasses, and she's just in a terrible mental state for the entirety of the book, which is completely unpleasant to read. D.

  • Cecilia
    2019-05-19 21:29

    *******************SPOILERS***************************Depression, societal shock, emotional shutdown, and psychological grief are popular subjects in fiction and can be written about well. When they are, it makes the reader feel spiritually cleansed and psychologically reborn. When it is not done well, the reader wishes to slap the protagonist and scream at him or her. When it is done horribly, the reader has his or her own break down and wishes to kill him or herself rather than finish one more sentence in the story. Unfortunately, Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna is one of these novels.One of the rare good things about the novel is that Kavenna has a really good style of writing, good voice, and strong use of wit. Many passages are quite beautiful or thought provoking. For example, while Rosa is riding on a bus, the narration follows, “There was a sign pointing left, saying EQUAL PEOPLE. So that’s where they live, Rosa thought” (54). Using a sarcastic thought to a common street sign meaning something else entirely, it is easy to tell that Kavenna knows her craft of writing very well. That being said, she obviously was not taught about the importance of plot. The novel starts off with the clichéd though catchy start of a woman named Rosa who has lost all meaning in her life. She abruptly quits her job as a journalist and walks out the door to find herself using the philosophies though the ages. Though this idea has been done many times through the history of novel writing, Kavenna sets this up nicely. Then, everything goes downhill from there. The woman loses her significant other of ten years to her best friend of just a few, she jumps from location to location, using her friends for as long as she can until they kick her out, purposefully fails job interviews, and, overall, becomes a parasite. Through these so-called trials that are more akin to malingering than actual depression, rather than finding herself in philosophies, she becomes lost in them. She does not necessarily question everything, a principal taught in many philosophies, so much as whine about everything. For example, one night at 2:00 in the morning, she calls back the man who took pity enough on her to give her a free lance job to apologize for being depressed. When he cuts her off with a very polite request that she call him back at a more reasonable hour, Rosa narrates, “He would be asleep in a second, and she counted down, thinking of him drifting into sleep, falling and now, Andreas was unconscious, she thought. Then she kicked the phone out of the socket, went to her room and whined herself to sleep” (275). He was very polite when reminding her of the hour, even telling her he would talk to her later, and she only thinks about herself. Philosophy and the art of finding oneself is essentially supposed to make one less of a self-centered jerk, but all Rosa can concentrate on is herself. She fails to grow as a character, which just adds to the monotony and pointlessness of the story.Throughout the novel, Rosa’s sense of humor, while witty and full of symbolism and social commentary, is largely and annoyingly self-deprecating. While this at first pulls sympathy, the longer it goes on, the more it alienating it becomes. One such witty commentary is Rosa’s habit of making to-do lists, which never seem to get done, a true reflection of how depressed people tackle to-do lists. As the list rarely changes very much but is repeated in its entirety throughout the novel, it just is there to fill space in what should have been a novella or short story rather than a novel. Another such annoyance is Rosa’s tendency to share many letters she writes to various people in the novel, many of whom we never hear about again, begging for a job. These letters, while in essence follow the professional outline, are again self-deprecating and would in no way ever gain a single person any form of employment. Again, while these may at first gain a chuckle for their dark humor, the longer it continues, the more it annoys. It is as if Kavenna took a brilliant joke and retold it too often. In its entirety, Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna, though it has its witty moments, is not worth the effort it takes to force oneself to open it. Unless quite a prize is waiting at the finish line for the reader, it should not be bothered with by anyone unless he or she particularly enjoys self-deprecating humor, plot-less actions driven by the protagonist’s chaotic thrashing into philosophy, or novels that inspire disgust or hate by the end, of which is only slightly wrapped up in the last few pages.

  • Alter
    2019-05-12 00:43

    This is not a chick lit novel. It is a specific response to a particular genre of fiction: the Outsider genre. This is the great urban genre where the protagonist wanders through a big confusing dirty city, wondering about the meaning of life and the universe and everything - Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, Knut Hamsun, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Robert Musil, Joseph Roth etc. The protagonist of Inglorious is trying to understand a way to live with the knowledge that all those we love, our parents, our children, our friends, must die. And that we must also die. How to live in the knowledge of death? How not to go mad? There's a further question: can a woman debate this question and be taken seriously, by women, by men, by anyone. Or will she be told she is boring, self-absorbed? Will she be hounded and told to be quiet? The fact that this book has a lower ranking than Mein Kampf supplies a very clear answer to the question posed by this novel. It is also sad that the worst critics are women.

  • Wooky
    2019-05-11 02:44

    Forget the chick-lit-like cover photograph. This is a very quirky and funny, yet dark and serious portrait of depression. It sagged a bit past the middle mark, when there wasn't much to propel the plot forward, but I closed the book really admiring how the author was able to mix some really dark elements with lots of humor. Also strong were her insights into the psychology of her characters (especially in the last scene between the protagonist and her ex-boyfriend).

  • Juliann
    2019-05-18 02:40

    This one dragged at time but mostly because of the style - very British. The story of a woman who just walks out one day, seeming to know that there needs to be a change in her life but not sure how to get there. There was something so true about the way the people in her life wanted her to "just get on with it" - I think it is how we all function, as if we are all just there on the edge of wanting to walk out on our lives.

  • Raneem
    2019-05-19 23:35

    I found large portions of the book really boring, its always Rosa what she is thinking about , how she feels ........... why i rated this book 3 because i thought she depicted the whole process of been depressed and how your thought keeps running in circles inside your head really well...... and how she moved on when she started loosing the emotional numbness and feeling hurt and sad.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-11 03:42

    ugh... don't bother. one of those books where you keep waiting for something to Happen and the reason you don't just throw it away is cuz you want to know what happens in the end. which was nothing. bit fat zilch. though. i did somewhat like her writing style and there was potential there but it was somehow lost along the way.

  • Emily
    2019-04-21 04:43

    It is one of the Saddest Things Ever when there is a book you loooove and you think, "at last, I have found true love! This author and I shall skip off to the hills together and each book we share shall be more glorious than the last!" It is no secret (and the reason it is no secret is because I rarely shut up about it) that Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna is really one of my favourite books, and I so I had such! high! hopes! for Inglorious. And did it deliver? No it did not. Consider me devastated, folks.I started off enjoying it but soon the tone and the events (or really, lack of events) started to grate on me. It's about a successful journalist who walks out of her job when she realises that she's a slave in a corporate machine and Britain is going to rack and ruin etc etc. So very similar to Come to the Edge in many ways (about a woman who walks out on her life when her husband goes and has an affair). But at least in Come to the Edge she tries to do something about it (that is, she goes and rents a room in a dilapidated farmhouse in Scotland and starts breaking into peoples' houses and giving them to other people ... it's fab, really). Inglorious is just kind of pathetic. And unresolved and disappointing. Which is maybe the whole idea, but it was frankly depressing -- not in a good, Gatsby-esque way but in an oh-that-book-what-was-even-the-point kind of way. I was miffed. I'll read Kavenna again, in hope, but ... gee. It's so sad when faves don't deliver.

  • Alison Hardtmann
    2019-04-19 03:43

    This is a curious book, slow, but compelling. The plot is negligible, all but one of the characters slightly drawn, but the protagonist, Rosa Lane, a woman who sinks into depression and lassitude after the death of her mother is brightly realized, at once sympathetic and maddening. Rosa quits her job (quite an interesting one as a journalist with a sympathetic boss), is dumped by her partner and ends up out-staying her welcome with a succession of friends as she uses her credit card to get by. Her physical situation is never dire, but emotionally she is falling apart, making endless lists of important philosophical works that she never gets around to reading. The language swings wildly from the pretentiously baroque ("Essentially Rosa you are succumbing to an atavistic - and unfeminine - urge for violence") to ordinary idiomatic speech. This takes some getting used to, especially since every character unevenly varies his speech. Even the 25 year old aspiring actor, who is German, has, at times, an astonishing vocabulary.This is a strange book, the uneven language takes on its own cadence. As long as you aren't looking for plot or characterization, this book is enjoyable.

  • Callie Carling
    2019-05-02 23:26

    There are some books that you stumble across and think "gosh, life is too short to read poorly-written and poorly-edited books" ... and this sadly is one of them.I really wanted to like it but poor editing on the opening paragraph set the scene ... by page 79, I gave up (very rare for me!).

  • Jaykayrisque
    2019-04-19 22:28

    Inglorious is Rosa's state of failure. She finds she can't go on the way she is, but it looks like she's irresponsibly giving up. She can't justify herself. She can't expect her acquaintances to understand her. Practical crises loom and bear down on her. Her partner reveals their relationship has been over for some time without her realising it. Her mother has died and her father is anxious and needy. She has lost emotional connection with her life and her surroundings in general. But she wonders if her problem is existential - makes lists, writes letters to people, which tell her how she's feeling - as if she'll seek an intellectual resolution. But her heart isn't in that, and as pressure increases she needs a quick fix, and nothing is forthcoming. By chance she finds a younger lover, someone to find transient excitement with, but she can't and wouldn't look to him for help with her predicament.I was so impressed with the writing, the lyrical descriptions (I mean the focus on sentiment) of Rosa's muddled progress and her shifting psychological and emotional perspective. But was there humour - comedy even? Was Rosa a fool, or a clown? I didn't think so.I wonder what drew the author to imagine this. Blurbs say there's similar literary precedent. The author herself seems to be academic, intellectual, successful! Could she have glimpsed Rosa's abyss? This was her first novel. Now I'll make sure to read another.

  • Chaitra
    2019-05-14 20:14

    This is another book I read, solely because it wasn't rated high (the other being The Jane Austen Book Club. Here too, I agree completely with the average. Well, I rate it less than the average. Perhaps not for the same reason, but there it is. I wouldn't have looked at it twice if it wasn't an Orange Prize winner for New Writers, to be honest. I like the cover, but I'm not sure I like the epithets "wildly funny", "exhilarating". These usually denote the complete opposite, and this book is no exception. A 35 year old enters a state of depression after the death of her mother and dissolution of a ten years old affair, facing debt and social alienation and crippling self doubt on the way. This is not exactly recipe for humor. It's a pseudo-philosophical novel, in which the philosopher fails to examine any universal truth and beauty, being completely bogged down by the ego. It's still a worthy subject, but I didn't see any conclusions being reached. So ultimately it's a deeply upsetting chronicle of a woman in the throes of depression. I wish I could like it, but I didn't. It wasn't the redundant lists, the redundant thoughts, the tedious language and self deprecating letters for soliciting jobs that have nothing to do with the heroine's skill set. It wasn't even the lack of sympathy I felt towards the end for a woman who was once successful but now cannot even formulate a question, and refuses to deal with whatever stupidity she gets into. Even though that's all annoying to the point that I wanted to throw the book at the wall, I can recognize that depression could technically do that to you. No. What bothered me was the friends, the father and the fiancé.I can understand and believe that some people would be idiotic enough to assert that there's no depression, she's just playing hooky. But every single one of them? How would no one even ask her what she felt instead of telling her what to do? How would every single one of her friends stand behind the cheating scumbag of her boyfriend who dumps her at the worst possible moment and then doesn't even wait a decent amount of time to marry the girl who used to be the heroine's best friend? No matter what I would feel about the crazy lady, I would still feel that it is the heights of scumbaggery had this happened in my friends circle. I wouldn't be alone either. The father does nothing useful other than criticizing her for being slow to find a job, but the man seems to have enough connections to find her one if he wished. He definitely could have dragged her home where he could keep an eye on her and her finances. This continuous denial by the friends/family of her depression is something that boggles me - Rosa isn't isolated, she's in continuous contact with people, she even goes to the doctor for heaven's sake who pooh-poohs it with talks of a prince. Which century is this set in? If this is the exaggerated humor, the book fails, because it doesn't make it even look remotely possible. I also felt that the continuous reprimands on her getting a job were a bit much. It surely wouldn't float in a post-recession economy. The book got lucky coming out when it did. I did think of a scenario where this is all in Rosa's head (the persecution, I mean), but the book doesn't confirm this. As it's written, nothing is realistic in this tedious book that gave me a migraine by the time I finished it. I definitely won't willingly pick up another book by Kavenna.

  • Carrie
    2019-05-11 22:38

    Inglorious is British author Joanna Kavenna’s first novel, and I can’t say it makes me want to pick up any of her future work.Inglorious is the story of Rosa Lane, a writer who works as a critic for a London newspaper. She is floundering after the death of her mother. Her grief has overwhelmed her, and made her already floundering relationship with Liam come to a dead standstill. When she decides to resign from her job, Liam is pushed to admit that they have no future together. He dumps her, takes up with her best friend Grace, and the two immediately become engaged.At this point, Rosa undergoes a breakdown of immense proportion. She is unable to act in her own best interest, and she sinks further and further into debt. She moves from friend’s flat to friend’s flat, leaving when each one becomes tired of her endless depression and philosophical mutterings. She is unable to stand up for herself with Liam, who owes her money for their jointly-owned furniture. She is unable to write a coherent letter in response to the employment ads she finds in the newspaper. She is unable to ask her father for financial help - or even to tell him how much she is struggling. Basically, she is unable to do anything - except write endless lists of all the things she should be doing, but isn’t. I know that depression exists, that grief can be debilitating. I’ve read books about depression and grief. I’ve read novels in which the main character is depressed or grieving. These topics can be written in such a way that reading about them doesn’t make you want to shake the main character until her teeth rattle. Unfortunately, Kavenna doesn’t write in that way. The style of the novel is almost stream of consciousness, even though it is written in the third person. The book pretty much follows every thought that Rosa has, no matter how repetitive or irrelevant. There is very little dialogue or actual movement or change. In fact, when I finished the book, I didn’t get the sense that Rosa had made any sort of breakthrough. She leaves for a new location, but her problems are all still with her, and I expect things will go as badly for her as they did in London.I wanted to like this book. When I first started it, I was intrigued by the writing style. But then it became so repetitive, and nothing seemed to change, and I had to force myself to finish it.

  • Meerab
    2019-05-05 02:24

    I read this book a few months back and wish I had written this review then when the details were fresher in my mind. It certainly does not preach the kind of philosophy one is used to in books, where after going through lots of struggles and crisis with your identity and place in the world, you reach a point where you figure it all out and move on. That way, there is no rainbow after the rain. But there is something seering and brutally honest about the way Rosa goes through the fall from grace and how she finds it hard and also pointless to get back into the flow. It is quite existentialist in the questions it asks. If you have gone through a period like hers where you feel unable to do anything to get over what others consider to be a minor stumbling block, where you are unable to find a purpose and rationale to your existence and make endless to-do lists that never materialize, perhaps you will empathize with her. I particularly loved the episode where her dad comes to meet Rosa at the restaurant.The mixture of love, pain, guilt and helplessness she feels in front of her father, realizing he is aging,must be worrying about her, yet not wanting to add to his worries by telling him in what dire straits she is still remains fresh in my mind.There are stretches in the book where things get repetitive which may have been avoided (at least that is what I remember I felt then), and it was not an easy read at a time when I wish I had read a far more cheerful book to lift up my spirits, but it is the kind of book that left a deep impression on me, perhaps somewhat cathartic too. I was a bit ambiguous about it then, but felt it was a book worth reading then and months later, I still feel the same.

  • Anna
    2019-05-13 04:26

    Repetitious and navel gazing, but some of it is really well written. The interior life of the main character is incredibly depressing because it's so boring. Boring and familiar. This book conforms to many of the genre expectations of "chick lit," but it subverts these expectations by being horribly realistic about one particular woman's interior life. Whereas most chick lit provides us with an "everywoman" character whose "quirky eccentricities" include shopping, cooking, antiquing, or a large and colorful wardrobe, Kavanna's main character hasn't been painted up and whored out. Though the plot arc of the book is that of the chick lit novel (beginning just after the break up with a job/boyfriend and ending with the new and better boyfriend/job) it never gives its reader the chick lit payout (good sex/wedding and some form of female empowerment involving Prada). Kavanna's chick is baldly neurotic and dealing with grief, debt, and depression--not interesting topics for most outside observers. Lacking the drama of something like Prozac Nation, or the complexity of any classic piece of literature exploring the human psyche, Inglorious is even less glorious than its title. The best I can say about this book is that it's not bad company for someone who's miserable.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-30 03:14

    I loved the first couple of pages of this when she quit her job abruptly. After that I struggled - but I'm not sure whether that says more about my state of mind or the state of mind of the heroine. It's quite hard when teetering on the brink of being depressed yourself to read about someone having a nervous breakdown; it was all so internal and introspective. And those readers in a bright bouncy positive state of mind probably wouldn't feel inclined to read it in the first place. However, it could be used as a sort of checklist to see if you need to go to the doc's to get a load of happy pills. Writing long endless unrealistic lists over and over again? Getting obsessed by one particular word springing out at you from billboards? Think all men look like toads? Endlessly harrassing your ex boyfriend for the crummy furniture? Writing whimsical letters of application that say what everyone really wants to say but that won't get you a job? Hmmm, get to the doc's fast if that is the case.

  • Syznaa
    2019-04-25 01:26

    I am not proud of myself for having a month to finally put down this book. I had intentions to make this book as a fast-read from the start and I wasted an exact month for myself to finish reading. I guess it was because of the English writing style that made it seem a bit more contra to the usual American read or sense of flow that it has, that I'm not simply used to. The storyline is pretty much okay, I get the whole point, but it was a bit draggy and a lot of repetition. I was honestly slow because it bore me out until at one point I felt like putting this book down and just stop half-way, which is something I never do unless I can't at all control myself over how dull and devastating the book really is. But of course, there's always important lessons to be highlighted, and I'm well impressed that I manage to differentiate it clearly now the styles and diversity of how people write. Maybe I will give myself another try for this book, in the future when I feel like having a more "sophisticated-complicated-read".

  • Carolyn
    2019-05-03 00:14

    I didn’t love this. The lead character’s downward spiral…never really ends but it never really takes off either. I guess I needed things to either get better or get worse, but there was sort of a sameness to it all. And when it ends, it.just.ends. No resolution either way really.But there were two things I really really loved about it. I loved her to-do lists. SO funny. (Lists where things like “Read all of Western Philosophy” receive the same weight as things like “vacuum”.) And I loved her “letters” (or pretend letters as most are things you presume she did NOT send). And I thought they were so well-written and so comedic in a very bleak way…and I thought the rest of the book SHOULD have had that tone as well. Or if it would have, then it would probably have been a book I really loved. There was a distance to the rest / sort of a bubble around the character I found inpenetrable, that totally disappeared in those moments. They were what was most engaging about the character and perhaps were used too sparingly. They almost felt like they were written by a different person.

  • Gretchen
    2019-05-06 22:38

    Inglorious is the story of a 30-something woman who loses her mother, her boyfriend, her job, and just maybe, her sanity. After the death of her mother, Rosa Lane finds herself adrift, searching for the meaning of life. Rosa finds comfort in reciting endless lists of objectives to herself, ranging from "Hoover living room" to "Read Shakespeare, Proust, Dante, Spencer, Milton, Donne, and the others." Her attempts to get something done and to get out of her depression are a slim plot on which to hang a novel, and ultimately, there's not much that actually happens. Nevertheless, Rosa's travails have a certain sly humor to them, and one finds oneself hoping that Rosa will pull herself together. She's the kind of person one might like to be friends with, if only she weren't such a basket case. I'm not sure I really liked Inglorious, but I'm glad I read it--and I look forward to seeing what Kavenna writes next.

  • Chuk Yong
    2019-04-19 22:16

    Rosa suffered a mid-life crisis at the young age of 35 and decided to quit her job. What followed was a series of her being swept by the current of life while she tried hard to find her purpose. It could have been an enlightening journey but Joanna Kavenna tried to keep it light. It was funny at first but as it went on, humour was lost and I felt like being dragged along while Rosa met with one disappointment after another. Her long 'to-do list' of job hunting, negotiating with the bank and reading filled quarter of a page and kept repeating almost every other chapter. If that was Joanna's idea of what feeling out-of-job and lost felt like, she succeeded somewhat. However, I am not sure that if I felt the anxiety Rosa was feeling, I felt exasperated.Please don't let this book kept you off Joanna Kavenna. Her other book, Come to the Edge, had the same beginning as Inglorious, but was a much more fun, more punch and more satisfying storyline. Do check it out.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-05 22:34

    I did not like this book at all.I picked this book because the story sounded intriguing.... "One day successful young journalist and dedicated urbanite Rosa Lane sends her boss an e-mail that says "I quit" and then walks out of her job. She can't explain why--not to Liam, who's lived with her for years; not to her friends; not to her anxious, recently widowed father. All Rosa knows is that she needs to find enlightenment, to somehow understand her mother's death and do more than just earn her living."However, the book was almost 300 pages of nothing. Well... not nothing. Just reading about a depressed, self-pitying woman who does absolutely nothing, sponges off of all of her friends, and watches herself spiral more and more into depression. I finished the book because I kept waiting for something to happen. But it didn't.

  • Julie
    2019-05-06 00:14

    I really enjoyed this book, and found it also compulsively readable. However, at times I was very frustrated with the protagonist, Rosa. Of course, as many characters do, she makes stupid choices, but this isn't what I'm complaining about. At times Rosa felt like she was having a psychotic break. Perhaps that was the intention? I doubt it. Lots of wandering around, oblivious to the world and kind of freaking out...I guess that in London she was able to do so without attracting stares, but in other places someone might have tried to figure out what was wrong with her. Her friends/family seemed fed up with it, I'm not sure if they experienced any of the really spaced out moments or not, but woah, if I had known the girl I would have set her down (or shaken her really hard)!

  • Beverley
    2019-05-12 21:22

    Is it a nervous breakdown or an existential crisis? Is there a difference? Hard to tell but I have to say I found myself getting bored and annoyed with the way the unfolding of this character's trauma was told - a sort of stream of consciousness in the third person. At times, I felt I was reading the author's notebook of observations and character sketches rather than an integrated narrative, which in my opinion doesn't really seem to get to grip with the characters so-called "crise". To be honest, I began skimming from about 2/3s in. On a final note, I didn't in any way pick up on the back cover blurbs about "mordant humour" or "compelling anarchic energy" - that might be saying more about me as the reader than the author's intention.