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Breakfast in the Ruins by Michael Moorcock

Breakfast in the Ruins (original 1972; edition 1973)

by Michael Moorcock

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255667,624 (3.14)3
Title:Breakfast in the Ruins
Authors:Michael Moorcock
Info:New English Library (1973), Paperback, 175 pages

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Breakfast in the Ruins by Michael Moorcock (1972)



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Like a lot of people, I had read Moorcock's Behold the Man and was interested in more with Karl Glogauer. Unfortunately, this story seems only the slightest bit related. Like, maybe that the main character has the same name as that other one.
This Karl Glogauer encounters and enters into a sexual escapade with an African visitor to England. During the course of their liaison, Karl imagines himself as many different people living in the midst of important historical events. Each vignette is told in italics between descriptions of the present-day action.
I....kind of didn't get it? I didn't really see a thread or theme running through the stories. The ending was completely mystifying. I'm no prude, but some of the sexual stuff wasn't pleasant to read about. There also seemed to be an unseemly racial undercurrent that also didn't come off as particularly thematic or edifying. This was really disappointing after the total brilliance of Behold the Man. Seriously, read that twice, and skip this entirely. ( )
  EmScape | Mar 26, 2019 |
The entire text is available for free at RevolutionSF.
Link: [http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.html?id=722] ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
I've never read another book structured quite like this one. The main thread of the book involves Karl Glogauer meeting a rich, stylishly dressed black man who ends up wining and dining Karl and introducing him to homosexuality. At certain points along the way, something triggers within Karl a memory of another life in another time. Each of these vignettes is prefaced by a excerpt from a historical document from or about the period in question. At the end of each vignette is a "What would you do?" scenario in which every choice is a bad one. At first the pattern seems odd, as you progress it becomes more normal.

The historical periods that frame the vignettes are chosen for the stresses they put on Glogauer; some are physical, others emotional or spiritual. Karl or his loved ones regularly end up dead. There are vignettes from the French Revolution, the Spanish occupation of Cuba, the English Industrial Revolution, the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, the Vietnam war and others.

As another commenter states, I didn't find it enjoyable but certainly interesting. In fact, for me it has many similarities to [The Source] by James A. Michener. ( )
1 vote helver | Nov 10, 2012 |
In different places and times, we are shown scenes from the life of various incarnations of Karl Glogauer, citizen of the multiverse, growing up in a harsh world. Always at least partially of German Jewish origin, he usually finds himself in the midst of war or revolution. These scenes are linked by the story of an adult Karl in London in 1971 and there are also moral dilemmas (of the Sophie's Choice variety) at the end of each section, which I suppose are meant to make the reader think more carefully about the dilemmas Karl faces in his life/lives.

Karl Glogauer is the protagonist of another Moorcock book, "Behold the Man", which I preferred. I found Breakfast in the Ruins was interesting rather than enjoyable. It is not a book to read if you are feeling down; death stalks Karl throughout the multiverse. ( )
  isabelx | Apr 2, 2011 |
I remember reading this book ages ago (I must have bought it around 1979) and being blown away by its uncompromising, laughing cruelty. I don't know how I would find it now, perhaps dated. ( )
  annafdd | Sep 26, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Moorcockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Petagno, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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