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John the Pupil explained John the Pupil , review John the Pupil , trailer John the Pupil , box office John the Pupil , analysis John the Pupil , John the Pupil 2aae The Extraordinary New Novel From David FlusfederThis, His Seventh Novel, Is A Medieval Road Movie, Umberto Eco Seen Through The Eyes Of Quentin Tarantino, Recounting The Journey Taken From Oxford To Viterbo In By John And His Two Companions, At The Behest Of The Friar And Magus Roger Bacon, Carrying A Secret Burden To His Holiness Clement IV As Well As Having To Fight Off Ambushes From Thieves Hungry For The Thing Of Power They Are Carrying, The Holy Trio Are Tried And Tempted By All Sorts Of Sins Ambition, Pride, Lust And By The Sheer Hell And Heaven Of Medieval Life Erudite And Earthy, Horrifying, Comic, Humane, John The Pupil Reveals To The Reader A World Very Different And All Too Like The One We Live In Now

  • Hardcover
  • 240 pages
  • John the Pupil
  • David Flusfeder
  • 14 September 2019
  • 9780062339188

About the Author: David Flusfeder

David currently teaches Creative Writing at The University of Kent, UK.



10 thoughts on “John the Pupil

  1. says:

    This book settles you firmly in the medieval world of 1267 and within the traveling task of John the Pupil He is delivering his Master Roger Bacon s book to Pope Clement The journey is dangerous, long and of no sure completion it s from England to Italy That s the bones.But the flesh of this story is in its spirit, within both the faith and the striving it is questioning and often difficult, but it is also SO encompassed in our traveler s solid knowledge and devotional core belief to his task And also within the conceptions of and connection to his fellow traveler friars, the two that he has chosen to accompany him.It s very hard for me to review this book The simplicity was such a whole piece worldview, and yet it was so completely and mystically complicated with the corporeal world eyes at the same time It has some similarities to Canterbury Tales Many passages are poetic or refrains from Roman Catholic service or Matins, Prime, Offertory of the Mass It s the kind of book I would have loved to discuss with my High School English teacher, Sister Brian Absolutely loved it and thought the outcomes and endings both quite realistic And in John s case his full born graduation to adulthood.The language forms reflecting God, the saints and the nature of the physical world were 5 star sublime.

  2. says:

    David Flusfeder s John the Pupil is one of those books you enter like a world Within a few sentences, you find yourself living inside of it and your immediate surroundings become no than white noise The thirteenth century, in which it takes place, is an era of terror and knowledge.The John of the title is a student of Roger Bacon Along with two of his Franciscan brothers, John has been sent on a pilgrimage to Rome with the goal of delivering a new book by Bacon to the Pope, Clement IV This journey is traveled on foot for the most part, and in the tradition of their order the Franciscans are expected to preach daily for alms that will provide them with food and, sometimes, housing.The pace of the book is slow, as is a pilgrimage on foot John records events on scraps of parchment, labeling the entries with the names of the Saints Days on which they were written One day is much like the next sore feet, the constant threat of violence, and an inner dialogue that John uses to try to understand the meaning of his journey even as he undertakes it This pacing is part of what makes the book so all consuming it pulls readers into the rhythms of life from seven centuries ago.Flusfeder s prose is both beautiful and unadorned, true to the book s era as is the pace Wording is simple, but precise Sparseness, rather than rich detail, is what brings these characters to life.Give yourself the pleasure of reading this book Let yourself settle into its rhythms and language and experience a world we left long ago.

  3. says:

    I fell for the glowing reviews on this one John the Pupil is a travel log, about a sheltered student of Roger Bacon getting sent on a mission to deliver a book and apparatus for starting fires to the Pope It is set in 1267, so you can imagine how difficult the journey will be.Yet it feels like you are only imagining it I never got drawn into the characters, nor the story The conversations aren t written as dialogue, but after the fact, which creates emotional distance I never really felt a part of the story until the brutal treatment of Brother Daniel, which is nearly the end of the book John finished his trip, and it changed his life, but it didn t affect my life at all which is what I look for in a book.

  4. says:

    Gorgeous medieval quest Not really sure about the Tarrantino comparison in the blurb this isn t schlocky or especially violent and there is no obvious role for Uma Thurman It would make a good film, but probably something like the Coen brothers or an extended ad for KP crisps.

  5. says:

    John the Pupil is a forthcoming novel from David Flusfelder, a professor at the University of Kent and author of six previous novels John is a travel log, written by the student of Roger Bacon as he journeys to deliver Bacon s magnum opus to Pope Clement IV The story was billed as written in the vein of Umberto Eco s The Name of the Rose my favorite book , as well as Michael Faber, and curiously, Quentin Tarantino.I love The Name of the Rose for its medieval setting, art and history based puzzle solving, and religious themes that never descend into Church bashing John claims a bold heritage, which I find uncertain from my experience.The story is entirely narrated by John, as a travel log of his journey He recalls discussions and other characters, but there is no dialogue, only narration after the fact You can imagine him filling in his notes at the end of a day s journey I expect this choice is the experimentation that echos Tarantino The novel is itself a framed narrative, beginning with a fictional translator giving a history of John s journal, and claiming to have come to it many years later.John is a sheltered monk, book smart at the hands of his master, Roger Bacon, but street dumb from living an insular life in the Franciscan monastery, and further withdrawn into the library, at that It seems his two companions are chosen because they are the only names he happened to know on short notice They undertake their journey, facing threats and temptations in the world designed to attack each of their weaknesses alcohol, women, pride of intellect.Unfortunately, the narrative style was a significant obstacle for me The whole story stays at arm s length from the reader We never actually meet the characters or experience the difficult situations, we only hear about them after the fact It dilutes the conflict The travel log, as well, is written by John specifically for his tutor s benefit, and feels further sterilized to be publicly read It is a choice, and I don t fault the author for making it, but it left me disengaged from the story A personal diary might have been successful, but also historically inaccurate, as no valuable paper would have been wasted on a completely private text.The characters were well rounded and clear, I must say I am critical of the style preventing me from connecting with them, but the narration allowed me to understand them clearly Their troubles made sense, and I enjoyed that each had a trap waiting for them designed to break them at their weakest point John would certainly have seen the hand of the Devil in their struggles I also greatly enjoyed the thorough footnotes section Written in the as the academic we met in the first pages translating the travel log, the end notes are comprehensive and while fictional, seem historically plausible A clever edition I give a lot of credit to Flusfeder for thinking so carefully about the broader context of his novel and including it for the reader.I enjoyed John the Pupil, by the end I was thoroughly pulled into John s mission, and hoping to see him succeed I wasn t happy with the narration style keeping me at a distance from the action, but if that description doesn t bother you, John is a worthwhile read.

  6. says:

    Beautifully written and rich in imagery but the story didn t drive as much as I d hoped a medieval road movie would, even though it was technically packed with action and adventure The historical backing was sound and really interesting and although I thought reading a historically authentic dialogue would be a little tiresome it read naturally and was still relatable.

  7. says:

    I ve known about this book for years, but only recently got around to borrowing the audiobook from my library The concept, I must admit, was very interesting, and starting each day s account with a short biography of the Saint it was named was quite educational The actual story won t be according to everyone s taste Its basically a day to day account of the journey to Rome, and the struggles and temptations the three young friars face along the way and they get tempted in almost very way and sometimes succumb I can t vouch for the historical accuracy, although most of the details seemed right What attracted me early on were some the details about monastic life, how friars were different from monks and what they actually did Friars were supposed to travel around preaching, monks to stay in or less one place Most fascinating was the connection with Roger Bacon, a shadowy and almost legendary figure I never knew he was in turn a student of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln and another towering intellect of the thirteenth century Bacon certainly comes over a great scholar in this story, but as another reviewer pointed out its also implied he may have been a madman For too long I think Roger Bacon has ignominy of being presented as some kind of sorcerer, evil magician or insane yet some consider him as the Father of experimental science He was certainly into some dubious things, and got into trouble but I could not help but conclude he was an incredible intellect who deserves attention and credit, alongside most of the other neglected Medieval European intellectuals Shame there is not actually a lot about Bacon in this, and I understand the legendary book John was transporting is lost to history and indeed, some suggest never existed in the first place A worthwhile read, but I m not sure its one I d consider a keeper.

  8. says:

    It took my partner and I nearly a year to read this, just because we were only reading it aloud before bed and then discovered Netflix so ended up going to bed too exhausted to read I cannot recommend reading it out loud enough as so many medieval stories and texts were made to be spoken aloud David adopts a stylised and lyrical style that works both on the page and to the air.

  9. says:

    I won an uncorrected proof copy of this novel as a Goodreads giveaway This work of historical fiction is the story of John the Pupil, who in 1267 is charged by his master at the monastery to take his great work to the pope John is able to take two companions with him, but he has lived at the monastery for most of his life and the world beyond represents evils and temptations beyond anything he has experienced John and his companions experience violence, kindness, lust, and a variety of other worldly experiences while on the road Flusfeder has created an elaborate frame story for his novel to make it as closely identical to a work of non fiction as possible This includes a Note on the Text section that explains that the following work is a manuscript found among the collection of one Augustus Jessopp in the nineteenth century that the editor has translated and whose fragments he has arranged as closely as possible The mistakes that have been made here are the editor translator s own I am not a historian or a philologist, just a worker in language, whose path to John s manuscript has been an unlikely one that need not interrupt the reader s attention xv This seems like a blatant tongue in check message from the author about how he stumbled upon this fictional story that he has packaged as a non fictional text The accompanying chronicle of John s story is John s first hand account of his story a journal of his quest arranged not by date but by Saint s Day John typically spends some time recounting the saint for which each day is named before an account of his own day s events In the notes section that follow John s account, the translator says that one assumes that this first time that John has given us a summary of the acts of the saint whose day it is represents a youthful ambition he writes of adventures that he hopes will prefigure his own 206 Thus through his own journey, John is building his own story of adventure and heroism, which previously he was only able to read about Despite its pretensions, this novel does not, of course, read exactly like a manuscript from the thirteenth century John is much too introspective and detailed, and the language despite the translator s attempt to use only words that would have been known to John does not read like the formal, stilted writing of that century However, in the notes, Flusfeder writes, All historical novels are failures or, at best, metaphors, dressing up the present day in anachronistic disguise 212 So is this novel a farce Or a metaphor I can t help but feeling that this whole book is an elaborate tease of the author of his readers an elaborate ruse to force the reader to contemplate historical fiction in general and John s story as its relates to our own, in particular While John s quest experiences many setbacks and deviations, ultimately it helps him learn about himself than he ever could under the tutelage of his masters at the monastery The journey I am making now is a mirror of the contemplative journey I took at the friary and there is another, higher one that mirrors this, from above, and which I was closer to in the schoolroom 172.

  10. says:

    Written with a stunningly creative narrative voice, this is a brief but beautiful little book Highly recommended.

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