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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Laurence Sterne

This book is at times hilarious, and all the other times, boring. Probably the most accurate phrase would be "hot mess." This is a book about snubbing conventions and does not even attempt to construct a linear narrative. The narrator becomes distracted by context so much so that in his supposed autobiography he isn't even born until the third volume (three hundred pages in). It is ridiculous. But, you gotta appreciate a book that opens with a guy describing his own conception. His parents are totally just going at it and his mom stops and goes "Did you wind the clock?" and the dad is all "WOMAN! WHY ARE YOU INTERRUPTING ME?" And that was how Tristram Shandy came into the world.


There's a semi-film version of this book that came out a couple years ago, and I watched it because Gillian Anderson was in it, and I have this life-rule where I have to see everything she's ever in, so I rented it, and it was quite enjoyable. The joke is that since Tristram Shandy is a supposedly unfilmable novel, the film is about attempting to film it. And, like the book, it is told in fits and starts of a non-linear nature. You should actually watch it instead of reading this book, which basically in between making me laugh sometimes, just gave me a headache.