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The Shape of a Pocket

The Shape of a Pocket

Paperback

By (author) John Berger

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 192mm x 20mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 19 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0747558108
  • ISBN 13: 9780747558101
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: illustrations
  • Sales rank: 105,220

Product description

John Berger writes: 'The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order. The people coming together are the reader, me and those the essays are about - Rembrandt, Palaeolithic cave painters, a Romanian peasant, ancient Egyptians, an expert in the loneliness of certain hotel bedrooms, dogs at dusk, a man in a radio station. And unexpectedly, our exchanges strengthen each of us in our conviction that what is happening to the world today is wrong, and that what is often said about it is a lie. I've never written a book with a greater sense of urgency.'

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Author information

John Berger was born in London in 1926. His many books include the Booker Prize winning novel G and, more recently, TO THE WEDDING. Amongst his outstanding studies of art and photography are ANOTHER WAY OF TELLING, THE SUCCESS AND FAILURE OF PICASSO and the internationally acclaimed WAYS OF SEEING. He lives and works in a small village in the French Alps, the setting for his trilogy INTO THEIR LABOURS. His latest novel KING was published in 1998.

Review quote

"John Berger writes: 'The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order. The people coming together are the reader, me and those the essays are about - Rembrandt, Palaeolithic cave painters, a Romanian peasant, ancient Egyptians, an expert in the loneliness of certain hotel bedrooms, dogs at dusk, a man in a radio station. And unexpectedly, our exchanges strengthen each of us in our conviction that what is happening to the world today is wrong, and that what is often said about it is a lie. I've never written a book with a greater sense of urgency.'

Editorial reviews

John Berger can communicate more in one sentence, with astounding clarity and depth, than many writers are capable of in an entire book. These essays on art, typical of Berger's writing, read as a hybrid of elegant prose, philosophic wisdom and insightful observation. Berger uses a variety of subjects for his purpose: dogs, Michelangelo, a hermetic woman obsessed with drawing galactic space and Palaeolithic cave painters amongst others, linked by the process of creating art. The 'pocket' in the title is 'a small pocket of resistance... formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order'. Berger writes about the wrong paths the world is taking, and reaches the universal emotions buried underneath the illusions and delusions of modernity. He explains why we paint things and why certain works of art touch us the way they do, whether they are centuries old or produced yesterday, using fictional and historical accounts as examples. He describes artists not as creators but as receivers. When an artist presents an image that touches us, what we recognize within it and what the artist has captured is more than just favourable coincidence: 'we catch sight of another invisible order which intersects with ours and has nothing to do with it'. Berger explains how appearances are now volatile, using television as an example; how Necessity is the enigma of existence, and how it no longer exists because experience is no longer communicated, only watched via a wide range of media. Berger has written a poetic page-turner about ideas which a lesser writer would have struggled even to turn into readable prose. A mind-expanding book. (Kirkus UK)