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Description - Tlooth by Harry Mathews

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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Book Details

ISBN: 9781564781949
ISBN-10: 1564781941
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 142mm x 14mm)
Pages: 177
Imprint: Dalkey Archive Press
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publish Date: 1-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Tlooth by Harry Mathews

Book Reviews - Tlooth by Harry Mathews

US Kirkus Review » Reading Tlooth is like studying a language game underwater. "I lifted the receiver and heard a veiled voice ask, 'Is this Luther one six six oh?' 'No, Melancthon one eight eight six.' (It was really a Loyola number; these were passwords.)" No doubt prank-fiction is a fashionable proliferating genre: Pale Fire, The Octopus Papers, The Crying of Lot 49; and no doubt there will be many profound interpretations offered of Harry Mathews' Kook's Tour of the absurdist landscape. Certainly to turn modern literature's archetypal figure, the wounded male, into a lady dental technician who suffers from an infected ear and other maladies, and then bounce her about through a geographical pastiche, including Europe and the Near East as well as suitably mystifying imaginary terrains, all in the hope of symbolizing, or mocking, our unwieldy concern with the breakdown of personality, the ills of contemporary history, and so forth - well, that takes a courage of sorts. Mathews affects a classic restraint, low-keyed, dead-pan gymnastics, black humor in the guise of updated 18th century prose. Perhaps the heroine is meant to represent a hip Pamela, perhaps her adventures are a picaresque spoof. The possibilities are limitless, but Mathews' talent, alas, is not. Nothing every really sparkles in this drearily subtle first book published by Paris Review Editions. (Kirkus Reviews)


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