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Love in a Dead Language

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Love in a Dead Language is a love story, a translation of an Indian sex manual, an erotic farce, and a murder mystery rolled into one. Enticing the reader to follow both victims and celebrants of romantic love on their hypertextual voyage of folly and lust-through movie posters, upside-down pages, the Kamasutra: Game of Love board game, and even a proposed CD-ROM, Love in ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 364)
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Julie Alisa
I was sorely tempted to give this book another star on sole account of this paragraph(one of the better riffs on _Lolita_ that I've read):

"Lalita, I want to hear you speak to me someday in tongues, paying lip service; let me taste You (with a kiss that forms a gustatory Mobius strip, organ of taste tastefully tasting the tasty taste of the tasting organ of taste), smell You (alone, I slowly, nervously inhale and tre-tre-tremble with lie-centious anticipations), feel You (right now I rub my finge
...more
Meredith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ipso
This book is so creative. It's part annotated Kama Sutra, part parody of academia, part pulp novel, part comedy, part multimedia adventure. I would love to get another copy of this book some time (I gave mine away...)
Manuel Batsching
It is very hard to find words to describe this book. Lee Siegel is not only dealing with what is probably the most popular piece of classical Indian literature, but also with the complex system of cultural bias that stems from it's western reception. And he does so in a very inspired way, by telling a crazy love-crime-pulp-story that links in an inter-textual way to the works of Vladimir Nabokov and Philip Roth.

A peculiarity of this book is, that it contains lots of unusual things: a Kāmasūtra b
...more
Paula
I read this book awhile ago and I kept putting off writing a review... partially because I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But it's been a couple of months, so now I can say: not positively.

It's got a clever concept. A really, too clever concept. It's the translation of and commentary on the Kama Sutra, written by a prominent (fictional) scholar. A lifelong student of all things India, Professor Roth has never even kissed an Indian woman,let alone slept with one, which he believes will give him
...more
Jane
written in a very peculiar way...a translation of the kama sutra followed by commentary from a professor that is simultaneously narrating the story about his love and attempts to seduce a student, then with footnotes from a research assistant who is finishing the text after the professor is murdered. plus, the author makes reference to himself in the book, yet it's a novel (i think). confused yet? It's a pretty spicy novel, seeing as it involves the kama sutra, and the story is engaging once you ...more
Eric Shaffer
If you are a fan--as I am--of innovative and alternative fiction, then this novel may be for you. I'd place it with PALE FIRE by Nabokov, BOOK by Grudin, POSSESSION by Byatt, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Vonnegut, and, of course, my own BURN & LEARN, which I shamelessly recommend if you like any of the above. Read on.
Patricia
An academic parody. Inventive, playful, smart, and laugh out loud funny, at times even moving and sexy. I'm guessing it's a love it or hate it kind of book -- knowing something about the ideas and academic personalities that are being parodied probably makes a difference.
Ethan
A hilarious book, especially if you're an academic and even more especially if you're an academic who studies anything to do with classical India. You'll never look at the Monier-Williams Dictionary the same again...
Paula
For school (Kama sutra class). Laugh-out-loud funny, bawdy, intelligent, irreverent, truthful, mocking, yet educational - a great read line by line and BETWEEN the lines. The format is especially clever.
Dottie
This was a literary canivale, a romp. Convoluted layers of writing, scrumptious language and all sorts of shenanigans among the characters and the purported authors. A delightful read!
Scherzadee
Incredible, simply incredible.
Second in my list of all time favorites, right behind A Fine Balance, and just before Shantaram.
Rick Goff
This novel is an edifying mix of formal experimentation and cultural explication. And it's all about sex. What's not to love?
Audrey
I read this a long time ago and remember being more than a little confused by the plot. Perhaps a re-read is in order...?
Ruth
I wish people would write more books that have the kind of scrap-booky style of this book with better characters.
Anil Srivastava
A rumbustiously funny romp with a young maiden through the wiles of the Kamasutra.
Saya Hashimoto
A novel with footnotes so it makes you feel brainy.
Carly Johnson
Weird book on sex. Creatively layed out, though.
Gopa Thampi
Lolita meets Kamasutra in this creative farce.
Brandi
Jul 12, 2009 Brandi added it
reading too many books at once right now
Alexander
Porn for English majors, Comparatists.
Allison
ya- pretty much my favorite.
Laura M.
Jul 04, 2012 Laura M. marked it as to-read
Recommended by Myron S.
Shadi
Shadi added it
Aug 24, 2015
Christine
Christine marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
Jenna Kolesari
Jenna Kolesari marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2015
Rochelle Blumenstein
Rochelle Blumenstein marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2015
Charles Gory
Charles Gory is currently reading it
Jul 08, 2015
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Lee A. Siegel is a novelist and professor of religion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is not related to the critic Lee Siegel. In 1988 Siegel was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow [1]. He has received numerous fellowships and grants including five Senior Research Fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the Smithsonian Institute (1979, 1983, 1987, 199 ...more
More about Lee A. Siegel...
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“We enter into a relationship with any text we hear or read, like the relationship with a friend, a lover, or an enemy. A relationship is the ultimate meaning of the text.” 3 likes
“It's okay, you can do it. Because I am playing with myself as I write this, I hope you're doing the same as you read it. Otherwise there's not much point. Go ahead. Don't be shy or modest, prudish or self-conscious. That's it. It feels nice, doesn't it?” 1 likes
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