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Head to Toe

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Here, together for the first time in one volume, are Joe Orton's earliest and last published works. Head to Toe is the saga of Gombold, who strays onto the head of a creature some hundred miles high and begins making his way through the giant's nether regions and on toward his toes. En route, he falls into the clutches of a dominating and gender-bending policewoman; finds
192 pages
Published 1990 by Minerva (first published January 1st 1971)
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I have read some pretty bizarre books in my time but Orton’s effort really takes top place. I have long been a fan of Orton’s works having read and seen his plays. I have even read his journals which I thought were fascinating.
In Head to Toe, Orton has us follow Gombold who travels around a rather large creature. Gombold meets up with an array of characters and situations from an assassination, to the war between buttocks and being in prison.
There is no easy way to classify this novel or what
'is there a way out of this wood?' gombold asked.
'it isn't a wood,' o'scullion said.
'is there no way out?' repeated gombold, already regretting that he had spoken.
o'scullion tapped the enormous trunk beside him.
'i expect you think this is a tree.'
'as a matter of fact i don't. it's a hair.'
'whoever heard of a hair seventy feet long. you must be simple.'
this remark was made in such an unpleasant tone that gombold turned and walked away.
'that path leads nowhere,' o'scullion called as he plunged int
This is an extremely odd little book. I can't remember where I heard about it but it reminds me of other absurd fiction I've read--books like The Third Policeman and even Ridley Walker. The premise of the book is that the protagonist finds himself traveling over the body of a giant that supports various parasitic societies (such as the warring residents of Left Buttocks and Right Buttocks). He explores the territories while also finding himself caught in strange relationships. While hard to desc ...more
Ugh. Orton was a much better playwrite.
Chris Jones
Like if Kafka wrote Alice In Wonderland. Very funny, very surreal, very fun to read. For a book as unique as it is it sure has managed to fly under the radar for a long time. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the book accidentally. Highly recommended for fans of books that work on dream logic, stream of consciousness, surrealism, the work of Franz Kafka.
Weird nightmarish stuff. Ridiculous and angry.
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John Kingsley ("Joe") Orton was an English playwright. In a short but prolific career lasting from 1964 until his death, he shocked, outraged and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. The adjective Ortonesque is now used to refer to something characterised by a dark but farcical cynicism.

Orton began to write plays in the early 1960s. He wrote his only novel, posthumously published a
More about Joe Orton...
The Complete Plays What the Butler Saw The Orton Diaries Loot Entertaining Mr. Sloane

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