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Corker's Freedom
Cover of Corker's Freedom
Corker's Freedom
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First published thirty years ago, John Berger's tender and bittersweet novel is a book of dreams: dreams of freedom and romance, dreams that intoxicate and redeem, dreams that have the power to exalt their dreamers or dash them against hard truth.
It is the unforgettable, often comical portrait of a dreamer, one William Corker, the genteel proprietor of a London employment agency, who, in his sixty-third year, has just moved out of the house he shared with his overbearing sister. As Corker takes his first steps into a life of passions, Berger creates a character of astonishing depth and liveliness--a man whose fantasies and ambitions are at once splendid and tragic.

First published thirty years ago, John Berger's tender and bittersweet novel is a book of dreams: dreams of freedom and romance, dreams that intoxicate and redeem, dreams that have the power to exalt their dreamers or dash them against hard truth.
It is the unforgettable, often comical portrait of a dreamer, one William Corker, the genteel proprietor of a London employment agency, who, in his sixty-third year, has just moved out of the house he shared with his overbearing sister. As Corker takes his first steps into a life of passions, Berger creates a character of astonishing depth and liveliness--a man whose fantasies and ambitions are at once splendid and tragic.

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About the Author-
  • John Berger was born in London in 1926. He is well known for his novels and stories as well as for his works of nonfiction, including several volumes of art criticism. His first novel, A Painter of Our Time, was published in 1958, and since then his books have included Ways of Seeing, the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours, and the novel G., which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and lived in a small village in the French Alps. He died in 2017.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 4, 1993
    Reprinted in the wake of his success with the Into Their Labours trilogy, Berger's 1964 novel (written eight years before the Booker Prize-winning G , and being issued in the U.S. for the first time) describes a day in the life of a man bent on breaking with his past. Sixty-three-year-old London employment agency owner Corker is Berger's Leopold Bloom--a man plagued by the conviction that he hasn't done enough with his life and who is now determined to free himself from a narrow existence. Blind to all but his need to make some sort of heroic gesture, he begins a fractured odyssey, abandoning his crippled sister and inadvertently bringing tragedy on both of them. The novel chronicles Corker's first heady days at large and their tragicomic aftermath, giving Berger a chance to meditate on the naivete with which we view ``freedom,'' on the ways a restrictive social order defines character and on how our unfulfilled yearnings often run riot in the prisons we build for them. Berger's insights about the dangers of a romantic European ideal, here symbolized by the role Vienna plays in Corker's intellectual life, remain pertinent today. The end--rendered in a postscript--is sad and funny; Corker's Pyrrhic victory is both painful and uplifting. Berger, who cares deeply about his characters, has created an unforgettable one in Corker.

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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John Berger
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