The Arts

Rated 4.67/5 based on 6 reviews
In an uninhibited, candid style reminiscent of Bukowski, Albion Burridge's debut novel takes a cynical and often humorous look at the role of the modern day University student. Balancing somewhere between nihilism and realism, Burridge's un-self-assured self traverses the educational minefield with ease, finding self-abusive pleasures in alcohol, drugs, and women.
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About Albion Burridge

Albion Burridge is a 25 year old author from Vancouver, BC. His first novel, The Arts, was published in June of 2011.

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Review By: liragan
Great book
Although this is Albion Burridge's first book, it seems like he has written many. This book is great! I highly recommend it.

Review by: blobmonster on Feb. 02, 2014 :
This book could be a sinister cryptofascist plot to make art students look lazy and self-absorbed. Or it could be a real autobiographical account of an actual art student (doesn't seem likely).

(Some spoilers may follow).

The story takes us through the entire arts degree of young Sean O Connor. The setting is the city of Victoria, British Columbia. Sean's parents are apparently paying for his degree, and apparently everything else he needs as well - an apartment of his own, his living expenses, and a stonking great marijuana habit. He's mostly oblivious to how fortunate he is, and doesn't seem to care about much beyond the tiny university bubble that he lives in. The plot is mostly about Sean having fairly prozaic social encounters with his friends - Julien, Justine, Julia, Steve, Ray and a few others. They smoke weed, go to bars, have sex, eat weed brownies and smoke salvia.

He doesn't have a job, so he has a lot of time to study. None-the-less he generally does the minimum required. One of his electives is all about the music of the Beatles (so challenging!). Rather than contemporary music, Sean listens mostly to the music of the sixties, which is quite probably the music of his grandparents. There's also a scene where he refuses to vote which implies he is utterly braindead to politics.

So you might think by now that the narrator is an unmitigated dickwad. Not true! Sometimes, a deeper, more aware Sean O'Connor shines through. Not very often, but just enough to keep you hanging on. Sometimes a sharp, redeeming sentence appears without warning at the bottom of a paragraph. Other times he seems to be discovering a deeper spirituality (with the aid of drugs of course). We can also empathise with his attempts to find love and a meaningful relationship.

Presuming that the author has indeed studied the arts I would have expected this to be a little more literary. It's not exactly plot driven so maybe the descriptive passages could be extended? Perhaps there could be a little more colour here and there.

But all in all it's way better than a lot of stuff on smashwords. Three stars!
(review of free book)

Review by: Shane Grey on Dec. 14, 2013 :
Great novel. Burridge captures the essence of such greats as Bukowski and Fante. A must read for fans of literary fiction.
(review of free book)

Review by: Dai Alanye on Dec. 23, 2012 : (no rating)
We are not amused.

Victoria R.
(review of free book)

Review by: Port Albern on June 05, 2011 :
Love the writing style. Easy to read and begging to be read. Waiting for the sequel. What's up with Julia? Hope Book 2 is on its way.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jan Itor on June 02, 2011 :
: I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a light-hearted dive into the overall failures of our current academic system. Burridge manages to cover the pitfalls of higher education without becoming preachy or pretentious. Being a university grad myself, I can say without hesitation that the characters found in The Arts are true to life and many of the themes closely mirror the real, average, University experience. I would not recommend this book to children because of the often graphic nature of the sex scenes but, for anyone over 17, it is not an offensive read in the least.
(review of free book)

Review by: Erik S on June 02, 2011 :
Although it seems simply written and is extremely easy to read, this book shows real depth and character. Albion has a fantastic command of the English language. Simply fantastic, it feels very much like A Million Little Pieces. I highly recommend this.
(review of free book)

Review by: Ragan Li on June 02, 2011 :
Although this is Albion Burridge's first book, it seems like he has written many. This book is great! I highly recommend it.
(review of free book)

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