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The Cannibal (1949)

by John Hawkes

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215492,480 (3.28)11
No synopsis conveys the quality of this now famous novel about an hallucinated Germany in collapse after World War II. John Hawkes, in his search for a means to transcend outworn modes of fictional realism, has discovered a a highly original technique for objectifying the perennial degradation of mankind within a context of fantasy... . Nowhere has the nightmare of human terror and the deracinated sensibility been more consciously analyzed than in The Cannibal . Yet one is aware throughout that such analysis proceeds only in terms of a resolutely committed humanism." - Hayden Carruth "… (more)

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Showing 4 of 4
This was a hard book to rate. I think I want to give it 3.5/5.
I really enjoyed the writing, and the eerie surreal nightmare atmosphere. But despite myself I found I was constantly lost as to what was happening...and sort of didn't care to try to fix it. The ending was more clear to me so I found myself really into this world for the last few chapters.
I believe this book would make for better reading upon multiple readings. Which is good, it means there are riches still to be discovered. But I don't think I will be returning for quite a while. Pity. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
couldn't do it....too much arty bleak description. ( )
  lxydis | May 11, 2013 |
Ok, I really hated this book, but I give it five stars. Let me explain. I had to put it down a lot--sort of the equivalent of covering my eyes at the movies. Reading it did strange, bad things to my heart rate. The book is a masterpiece of oblique anxiety and despair. Events are much more unhinged than in Kafka, with whom Hawkes is sometimes compared. Disturbing and unique. ( )
  poingu | Mar 30, 2013 |
3811. The Cannibal, by John Hawkes (read 8 Oct 2003) This 1948 "novel" is no. 100 on Pieio Scaruffi's list of the 150 best novels of all time, but I found it an awful book. Hawkes has been compared to Kafka--but Kafka is understandable. This is so obscure that I could hardly tell what the book is about; the language is clear but tells no comprehensible followable story. I don't recommend it. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 11, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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No synopsis conveys the quality of this now famous novel about an hallucinated Germany in collapse after World War II. John Hawkes, in his search for a means to transcend outworn modes of fictional realism, has discovered a a highly original technique for objectifying the perennial degradation of mankind within a context of fantasy... . Nowhere has the nightmare of human terror and the deracinated sensibility been more consciously analyzed than in The Cannibal . Yet one is aware throughout that such analysis proceeds only in terms of a resolutely committed humanism." - Hayden Carruth "

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