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The Floating Opera and The End of the Road

1997, John Barth

The End of the Road is the second novel by American writer John Barth, published first in 1958, and then in a revised edition in 1967. The irony-laden black comedy's protagonist Jacob Horner suffers from a nihilistic paralysis he calls "cosmopsis"—an inability to choose a course of action from all possibilities. As part of a schedule of unorthodox therapies, Horner's nameless Doctor has him take a teaching job at a local teachers' college. There Horner befriends the super-rational Joe Morgan and his wife Rennie. The trio become entangled in a love triangle, with tragic results. The story deals with issues controversial at the time, such as sexuality, racial segregation, and abortion.

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