Novel , 1972


In this luminous novel –winner of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize– John Berger relates the story of "G.," a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of this century. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the Don Juan's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the way women experience their own extraordinariness through their moments with him. All of this Berger sets against the turbulent backdrop of Garibaldi and the failed revolution of Milanese workers in 1898, the Boer War, and the first flight across the Alps, making G. a brilliant novel about the search for intimacy in history's private moments. 

"Fascinating… an extraordinary mixture of historical details and sexual meditation… G. belongs in the tradition of George Eliot, Tolstoy, D.H. Lawrence and Normal Mailer."  New York Times

"The most interesting novel in English I have read for many years… It is one of the few serious attemps for our time to do for the novel what Brecht did for drama: to reshape it in the light of twentieth-century experience… A fine, humane and challenging book.”  The New Republic

"Its energy and invention remains alive…  Michael Ondaatje, most notably, seems to have learned an awful lot from this book, both in terms of its fractured narrative techniques and the way the freshy frailty of human characters is so exposed by the technology of the early modern age… Berger also shares Ondaatje’s ability to produce wonderful set pieces." Sam Jordison, The Guardian