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Love in a Dead Language

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  25 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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MJ Nicholls
Oct 11, 2016 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, merkins
An extravagant novel and an orgasmic feast for fans of intertextual and metatextual and hypertextual and encyclopedantic überworks. Boasting more Nabokovian tricks and references than in four Nabokovs, this pastiche of the campus adultery novel packs more hilarity, knowing winks, Kamasutran wisdom, and spurious/real scholarly trivia than some writers manage in a corpus, and keeps the pace and ludic loveliness for its entirety, pleasuring the reader with a wonderful prose style, replete with word ...more
Julie Alisa
Dec 26, 2009 Julie Alisa rated it it was ok
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.
Eric Shaffer
Mar 09, 2010 Eric Shaffer rated it it was amazing
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.
Ipso
Dec 01, 2007 Ipso rated it it was amazing
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...)
Julie A
May 24, 2017 Julie A rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! It's laugh out loud funny, original, highly unusual, and a real palate cleanser. The mix of classical erotica, murder mystery, (of age) Lolita, academia, family dynamics, an Indian adventure, and a midlife crisis all combine into epic absurdity. This was exceedingly entertaining.

I think this may take a special kind of reader because the story is so much of a frame within a frame within a frame; but if you're patient, and can tolerate the multi-dimensionality of it, i
...more
Paula
Jun 09, 2008 Paula rated it it was ok
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
Manuel Batsching
Feb 25, 2013 Manuel Batsching rated it really liked it
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
Jane
May 29, 2008 Jane rated it liked it
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
Ethan
Jan 23, 2008 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 30, 2010 Paula rated it really liked it
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.
Allen
Sep 12, 2015 Allen rated it it was amazing
Very clever and funny. One of my favorite books.
Rick Goff
Sep 27, 2013 Rick Goff rated it really liked it
This novel is an edifying mix of formal experimentation and cultural explication. And it's all about sex. What's not to love?
Scherzadee
Apr 24, 2013 Scherzadee rated it it was amazing
Incredible, simply incredible.
Third in my list of all time favorites, right behind A Fine Balance and The Illicit Happiness Of Other People"
Allison
Jul 31, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
ya- pretty much my favorite.
Anil Srivastava
Dec 12, 2012 Anil Srivastava rated it it was amazing
A rumbustiously funny romp with a young maiden through the wiles of the Kamasutra.
Laura M.
Jul 04, 2012 Laura M. marked it as to-read
Recommended by Myron S.
Ruth
May 05, 2008 Ruth rated it it was ok
I wish people would write more books that have the kind of scrap-booky style of this book with better characters.
Dottie
Oct 19, 2007 Dottie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2003, own
This was a literary carnivale, a romp. Convoluted layers of writing, scrumptious language and all sorts of shenanigans among the characters and the purported authors. A delightful read!
Gopa Thampi
Aug 13, 2012 Gopa Thampi rated it really liked it
Lolita meets Kamasutra in this creative farce.
Saya Hashimoto
Mar 23, 2011 Saya Hashimoto rated it liked it
A novel with footnotes so it makes you feel brainy.
Carly Johnson
Aug 05, 2011 Carly Johnson rated it liked it
Weird book on sex. Creatively layed out, though.
Audrey P
Sep 18, 2011 Audrey P rated it it was ok
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...?
Jeff
Jeff rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2015
Claire
Claire rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2017
Brian
Brian rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2008
Carolyn
Carolyn rated it really liked it
Oct 10, 2011
cassie
cassie rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2008
Josh
Josh rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2008
Christopher Daniel
Christopher Daniel rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2012
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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
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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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