Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Philosophical Exploits into the Absurd

The Thought Gang 

The Thought Gang

"The publishers eventually tracked me down and asked me about the book, how it was, where it could be found.  I countered by asking for more money, simply so I had something to say apart from, I can't find the typewriter and even if I could find it, it doesn't have a ribbon, and the a and the z don't work. . . 
The thing about signing a contract is that it can mislead people into thinking something has been agreed." (p 74)

If you love philosophy and have an appreciation for the absurd you will probably enjoy this book. Tibor Fischer has written a novel that I found dependable in producing humor evidenced by my smiles and more often than not outright laughter.

The story demonstrates the sublime absurdity of a middle-aged philosopher who is running from his academic publisher and others;  and while doing so finds himself in France about to join with a semi-successful thief (the thief has recently been released from prison) ultimately entering into a series of adventures. Coffin uses a first-person narration (numbered in sections, like a philosophical treatise) that is not terribly mellifluous, but becomes fun through the use of wisecracks about Epictetus and Zeno--as well as Coffin's unexplained fascination with words that begin with the letter Z. The style gets to you (at least it did for this reader). He juxtaposes intellectual metaphysics and juvenile gangster fantasy as evidenced by the line, ``The thing about a gun is, it's like being on the right side of a Socratic dialogue."

The result of the philosophical and adventurous mish-mash is a delightfully wacky book that has echoes of Tristram Shandy and other books of that sort. Read it at your own philosophical risk.


Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like something that I might really like. Philosophical and absurd sound right up my ally.

that quotation that you posted is very funny.

James said...

Glad you appreciated the humor. The book has a lot of funny moments.