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Tlooth (1966)

by Harry Mathews

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1374158,573 (3.67)9
This novel begins in a Russian prison camp at a baseball game featuring the defective Baptists versus the Fideists. There is a plot (of sorts), one of revenge surrounding a doctor who, in removing a bone spur from our narrator, manages to amputate a ring and index finger, a significant surgical error considering that the narrator is, or was, a violinist. When Dr. Roak is released from prison, our narrator escapes in order to begin the pursuit, and thus begins a digressive journey from Afghanistan to Venice, then on to India and Morocco and France. All of this takes place amid Mathews's fictional concern and play with games, puzzles, arcana, and stories within stories.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Audaciously eccentric storytelling, splendidly composed, vast but contained, motley and wry. Mathews makes a great go of it, from hints of a medieval medical feud in the faux footnotes of a forged letter, to an Afghan mustard bar to the soothsaying mudbogs of pornographic Venice and beyond. There’s probably something here for everyone, but too much for most.

Elysian SuperFuzz Blood Orange Ale
Evil Twin Sanguinem Aurantiaco
  MusicalGlass | Sep 14, 2019 |
DmENTAL
Written in short chapters, the narrative of TLOOTH is awash with absurdist digressions and surreal imagery. Halfway through I was somewhat confused. By the end I was pleasantly bemused. All in all I enjoyed the author's limpid style and the many dreamlike happenings. The point of writings like this isn't necessarily the story, more the incidental side-stepping and strange instances that occur along the way, and this novel is loaded with such deviations - "play with games, puzzles, arcana, and stories within stories" as it says on the back cover. I'd define it as elegantly mind-boggling. A curious creation. ( )
  BlackGlove | Jan 20, 2018 |
Extremely hard to review, especially as I read in ms so long ago. I don't recall a word of it. But that's no reflection on Harry. It's a reflection on me. I was hiding in it at the time.
  StephenG | Jan 29, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Epigraph
It is a mistake to regard one disease as more divine than another, since all is human and all divine.

Hippocrates
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Mannish Madame Nevtaya slowly cried "Fur bowls!" and the Fideist batter, alert to the sense behind the sound of her words, jogged toward first base.
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This novel begins in a Russian prison camp at a baseball game featuring the defective Baptists versus the Fideists. There is a plot (of sorts), one of revenge surrounding a doctor who, in removing a bone spur from our narrator, manages to amputate a ring and index finger, a significant surgical error considering that the narrator is, or was, a violinist. When Dr. Roak is released from prison, our narrator escapes in order to begin the pursuit, and thus begins a digressive journey from Afghanistan to Venice, then on to India and Morocco and France. All of this takes place amid Mathews's fictional concern and play with games, puzzles, arcana, and stories within stories.

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