The English Disease
THE ENGLISH DISEASE is a remarkable feat, a story that mixes the Marx brothers and Maimonides, pornographic yoga with Polish paranoia, and the brutality of kindergarten with the beauty of the Kiddush. It's the tale of Charles Belski, an expert in the works of Gustav Mahler, who, like Mahler himself, is talented and neurotic, and a nonpracticing Jew. Belski suffers guilt ov...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 15th 2012 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
(first published May 23rd 2003)
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Obsessed to a fault with the interior life of an unlikeable character, far more self-absorbed than the gold miner in The Colour, embedded in a nearly plotless narrative preoccupied with the plight of the Jews. The author tries to express himself with the sort of intellectual virtuosity & humor that characterizes Tom Robbins's novels, but his ponderous, self-absorbed prose gets tiresome pretty quickly.
I thought that this was an interesting experiment and well-done in places. I liked its intellectual breadth, and it very adequately communicated the emotional and other challenges of the main character. Although I did not always like this novel, I liked the effort.