Now back in print in a limited quantity, B.S. Johnson’s lost classic has been showered with praise: New York Magazine named The Unfortunates one of their Ten Best Books of 2008, listed in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008, and The L.A. Times declared it to be “his most daring work.” A legendary 1960s experiment in form, The Unfortunates is B. S. Johnson’s famous “book in a box,” in which the chapters are presented unbound, to be read in any order the reader chooses. A sportswriter, sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment, finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when he disembarks at the train station. Memories of one of his best, most trusted friends, a tragically young victim of cancer, begin to flood through his mind as he attempts to go about the routine business of reporting a soccer match.
B.S. Johnson was an English experimental novelist, poet, and critic.
The future of the novel depends on people like B. S. Johnson.
A most gifted writer.
Far from some modernist stunt, the form of the book dovetails beautifully with Johnson’s subject––the accidental yet persistent nature of memory… This book, with no belief in God, no hope for heaven, makes you feel the stuff of life as sacred, and our inability to hold on to it as damnation enough for anyone to be made to bear.