Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Top 20 Books, #10


The Thought Gang, by Tibor Fischer, is #10 on my list of favorite 20 books. Most people have never heard of Mr. Fischer, as he is a British writer, who was nominated for a Booker Prize in 1992 for his debut novel Under the Frog.

This is most likely the most obscure book on my list, and it isn't for everyone, but it is a wild, bizarre romp through a twisted imagination.

The premise is this: a societal malcontent goes on a bank-robbing spree while spewing philosophy. That's about it but then there's more.

John Updike, in The New Yorker, didn't like it so much:

"Could serve as a textbook example of an author outsmarting himself."

But then there's Carey Harrison, from The San Francisco Chronicle, who said: "A bundle of delights, a fireworks display of jokes, an acrobatic display of language tormented by a professional linguistic arm-twister."

Read the first chapter here. Then post what you think. You'll love it or hate it. I finally had the pleasure last year of meeting Mr. Fischer in New York at a reading at the famous KGB Bar. He was touring for his latest book Voyage to the End of the Room.

Try out Under the Frog as well, although this ribald, irreverant comedy had me laughing out loud and wishing for more.

Fischer was one of Granta's TOP 20 Young British Novellists way back when.

1 comment:

Jill said...

I am happy to report that thanks to my friend Bill, I have an autographed copy of "The Thought Gang" and got to see Mr. Fischer read at KGB with Bill last year.

He's definitely a different sort of writer, but very amusing. I loved "Under the Frog"!