Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Doctor Criminale by Malcolm Bradbury

Doctor Criminale (1992)

by Malcolm Bradbury

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
151379,164 (3.28)1



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 3 of 3
Maybe a little dated (c. 1992). But an interesting view of the postmodern Europe from an early 1990's perspective. ( )
  gregory_gwen | Dec 3, 2010 |
Maybe a little dated (c. 1992). But an interesting view of the postmodern Europe from an early 1990's perspective. ( )
  LTFL_JMLS | Dec 3, 2010 |
The cover described the book as a "bracing comedy of ideas." That's what hooked me. I've always struggled with the idea of how to deal with ideas in fiction in a convincing, readable way. I thought this book might provide an answer. It didn't. The parts of it that dealt with ideas were few, and not the best. Most of it was a mildly amusing satire on academics and the pompous conferences they attend. Even these parts made me cringe in places: satire, when not fresh, can so easily become caricature. Thus the German delegates are all serious, the Italians are flamboyant and a bit ridiculous, the Africans are always laughing and wearing colourful clothes, etc. And the women all want to have sex with the main character, a literary journalist who shows no sign of being particularly charming or irresistible in any way. Perhaps, if you're writing a "bracing comedy of ideas", you think you have to throw in a little hanky-panky to keep the readers' interest up through all the discussions of Heidegger. But to me it felt a little sleazy, and detracted from the credibility of the story.

I guess I shouldn't read so much into book blurbs. "With grace and wit its author deconstructs fifty years of European thought and history" was another promise that caught my eye. But, again, he didn't. The part I did find successful was the point that thinkers must make compromises with history, and the perspective on postmodernism as being a kind of cop-out - having seen the thinkers of the past fall into the trap of following the wrong ideas (communism/fascism), postmodernists don't support anything at all. Ironic detachment and scepticism don't help the world at all. Better to have an idea, even if flawed, a la Criminale, than not to have any ideas at all. Better to construct something wrong than merely to deconstruct and not offer anything new.

The writing style was fine, if a little wordy for my liking. I hate when characters are sitting on a train reviewing the story so far and speculating at length about the motives of other characters. It feels as if I am being prodded: "look, look, you probably missed it, but this is what you should be thinking about at this point!" I think if the story is well told, the reader can be trusted to realise what the important questions are. Another slight irritation was the author's tendency to shoehorn Oscar Wilde type bons mots into the narrative, e.g. "Writers are sometimes inclined to let their work do the talking; photographers have to let their talking do much of the work." Or: "There are no travellers now, only tourists. A traveller comes to see a reality that is there already. A tourist comes only to see a reality invented for him, in which he conspires." A lot of these little flourishes were quite clever, really. But they irritated me because they broke the narrative spell: they made me forget about the characters for a few seconds, look up from the page and remember that I was reading a book by a man called Malcolm Bradbury who was trying quite hard to sound clever. ( )
  AndrewBlackman | Sep 13, 2008 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 avail.
3 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.28)
1 1
2 2
2.5 1
3 8
3.5 3
4 6
4.5 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,246,223 books! | Top bar: Always visible