03 January 2013

The Thing about Thugs - Tabish Khair

"Ranging from skull-lined mansions to underground runnels a ghostly people call home, The Thing about Thugs is a feat of imagination to rival Wilkie Collins or Michael Chabon." Book jacket, The Thing about Thugs
Well I've never read any Michael Chabon, but if you haven't yet discovered my deep and abiding love for this guy,

My favorite forehead in literature.

It was with only a little trepidation that I walked into this one because other members of the Cult of Wilkie read and recommended it - which is how it ended up on the library hold shelf in the first place. It  may shock you to be told that I am a sucker for great packaging, and things like full-edge bleeds and different fonts for different narrators in books make me happy. Also, language like this:
"It is the ghost of a true story that I tell in these once white pages." (4)
"Is that all we are: stories, words, breath? . . . Are we then nothing but the playthings of language?" (177-8)
Keep talking like that, Khair. 
And while the story is fantastic, this book is really all about the language. Khair is a master weaver of both words and story, which is so rare and precioussssssss that I want to close him up in a tower of my Enchanted April castle on the Italian coast - complete with rock-n-roll party boat, obvs - and make him write beautiful things for me forever (with access to the Internet, of course. Inspiration must come from somewhere).

8.5 out of 11 Uniques Phrenological Specimens