Friday, May 7, 2010

The Lecturer's Tale by James Hynes

Released: 2002

James Hynes' The Lecturer's Tale is definitely one of the more unique novels I have ever read. Not only is it intellectually stimulating with many literary references, but it is completely bizarre, sprinkled with aspects of trans-genderism. On second thought, the novel goes very overboard with trans-genderism.

Down on his luck after having a horrible day, English Lit professor Nelson Humboldt loses his index finger on Halloween and discovers he can influence people to his advantage. Nelson selfishly attains a higher position at the university where he nearly loses his job, manages to stay living in the campus' married housing, and eventually seduces the woman of his dreams. Despite the turn of sudden "good luck", Nelson eventually meets his demise and gets his just desserts in due time.

Mixed amid the adventures that Nelson encounters are several references some readers may not understand unless they are extremely familiar with famous literary icons and works. The Lecturer's Tale is very witty, but goes overboard on some, if not most of its literary cliches. The book takes on a mystical and fantasy approach and definitely falls into the sub-genre of black comedy.

Unless I can cross paths with a reader who can truly enjoy and understand notorious authors and literature pieces, I don't think The Lecturer's Tale can be considered recommended reading for everyone.

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