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Hunters and Gatherers [Paperback]

Geoff Nicholson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2000
Steve Geddes is an author who has been commissioned to write a book about collectors. His research leads him to an extraordinary line-up of eccentrics, including the alluring Victoria, who collects lovers. But then the most curious encyclopaedia he's ever seen draws his attention to a novelist it doesn't much rate, and suddenly he's eating, sleeping and breathing the works of Thornton McCain. Before he knows it, Steve finds he's become a collector himself: he can't rest until he's located every book, read every sentence. He should get a life, he knows, but his collector's quest is taking him into the very depths of the acquisitive inferno.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

British satirist Nicholson's 1991 novel describes a writer commissioned to write a book about collectors and the various eccentrics he encounters during the course of his research.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The wacky manic collectors in this raunchy little novel, first published in Great Britain in 1991, collect all manner of things: bad jokes; unrelated bits of ency-clopedic minutiae; sounds, including sexual indelicacies and death rattles; imaginary beer cans; women's knickers; classic cars, and the men who collect classic cars. The narrator, Steve Geddes, is a writer doing a book on collectors, especially those with "unlikely, bizarre, or exceptionally useless collections." His research leads him to the Havergals, a wealthy, eccentric couple. They "collect people"; that is, she does the "collecting" while he watches-"a bout of troilism," as Geddes calls it. By accident, Geddes learns that reclusive "cult author" Thornton McCain may have written a book that Geddes hasn't heard of. Geddes the observer becomes both obsessed collector and, for the randy Havergals, object to be collected. An insightful delight from start to finish; recommended for all fiction collections.
Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Collecting laughs March 24 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a comedy novel about collectors, with an oh-so-perfect title. It begins with a long list of things that collect, in all manifestations of the word, then proceeds to introduce us to a weird cross-section of British society. There is the car wash man with a craving for knowledge who decides to collect the entire contents of "The Books of Power," a strange encyclopedia set, into his memory. His boss, the prototypical used car salesman, with the pitch perfected, and a collection of knickers from his one-night stands (funny, how knickers is so much more tame than the American version "panties," no?). The wealthy auto collector and his wife who collects sexual experiences. And, finally, the narrator, who is writing a book on collectors, and so finds himself ironically in the position of collecting collectors.
The plot is an intricate construction that links all of the above together. I found it almost exactly opposite of a mystery novel, in that you have to unravel the events to get to the point, whereas Nicholson works to weave his characters together to show you the mystery. The book has echoes a couple of other works that I had read in the past, but these are not conscious on Nicholson's part, I believe, but simply the baggage I brought with me. It is similar to Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus, which should not be that surprising, as Fry's novel was also a British comedy about writers. It had some of the feel of A.S. Byatt's Possession, in that Nicholson continued to explore the theme of collecting much farther than I thought possible, and possession is an aspect of collecting.
It is a short book--only about 200 pages in the American edition--and Nicholson's prose style is breezy and vibrant, easily sped through.
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Format:Hardcover
This is a story about a writer who is collecting stories about people who collect things. Things such as cars, beer cans, lovers, sounds, knickers,information,even a man who collects Martini Recipes: " I made a series of variations on the Martini theme for this guy. I became familiar with the Naked Martini, the Trinity, the de Luxe, the Gibson, the Perfect, the Gordon, the Somerset and the Queen. We could have had the International but I was clean out of absinthe. I was initiated into the mysteries of the vermouth rinse and the vermouth spray, and told of barmen who merely SHOW the vermouth to the gin. I was lectured on the significance of bitters, the twist of lemon peel and the cocktail onion."(p66 Paperback Edition). In the event, the barmen, our hero, gets irritated with the arrogance of the customer, urinates in one martini which the customer mistakes for yellow Charteuse and promptly hurls the drink into our hero's face who relaliates by throwing the jug full of the special mixture over the customer. A melee ensues. Apart from the sheer joy of the characters and their situations, it does make one reflect on the obsession which is the novel's themes: Imelda Marcos and her shoes, Pol Pot and his skulls, Elizabeth Taylor and her husbands, me and my ? You and your...? A very enjoyable read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Starts strong, then fizzles Aug. 7 2001
Format:Hardcover
I loved "Everything & More" and "Bleeding London," and while this book started with Nicholson's trademark razor-wire wit, I thought the last quarter or so of the book suffered from awkward, forced and unbelievable resolutions. I also found some of the social observations, which were so keen in the other Nicholson books I'd read, to be unconvincing and even, in some cases, irrelevant to the main story. I will say, though, that his metaphors are great, and I love the irony of a book of collected anecdotes railing against the collecting of anecdotes (among other things). I say skip this one and go right to "Everything & More."
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Nicholson novel so far July 15 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Having read 'Footsucker' and 'Volkwagens'; this is my favorite Nicholson novel so far. (The others were good too.) A great cast of eccentrics showcase the search for the nature of collectors and their collections.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, funny and well-crafted novel hits the spot May 10 2000
By Ian Muldoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a story about a writer who is collecting stories about people who collect things. Things such as cars, beer cans, lovers, sounds, knickers,information,even a man who collects Martini Recipes: " I made a series of variations on the Martini theme for this guy. I became familiar with the Naked Martini, the Trinity, the de Luxe, the Gibson, the Perfect, the Gordon, the Somerset and the Queen. We could have had the International but I was clean out of absinthe. I was initiated into the mysteries of the vermouth rinse and the vermouth spray, and told of barmen who merely SHOW the vermouth to the gin. I was lectured on the significance of bitters, the twist of lemon peel and the cocktail onion."(p66 Paperback Edition). In the event, the barmen, our hero, gets irritated with the arrogance of the customer, urinates in one martini which the customer mistakes for yellow Charteuse and promptly hurls the drink into our hero's face who relaliates by throwing the jug full of the special mixture over the customer. A melee ensues. Apart from the sheer joy of the characters and their situations, it does make one reflect on the obsession which is the novel's themes: Imelda Marcos and her shoes, Pol Pot and his skulls, Elizabeth Taylor and her husbands, me and my ? You and your...? A very enjoyable read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one should be filmed April 23 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
According to the jacket blurb, Nicholson has sold film rights to more than one of his novels. This is the one I'd like to see. The intricacies of the story and the criss-crossing of paths the narrator and the other characters make in this wild trip demand to be seen. I've also read Footsucker (not as erotic as the two reviewers are making it out to be), but this novel has more weight and satirical insight. Thank God, for writers who know how to poke fun at the rest of the world, who have no mercy for the ignorant and the vain, who relish giving it to the arrogant and the condescending and who still have room for a bit of compassion for the lonely, the misunderstood and the off-center misfits of this often insane world we live in. I only wish Nicholson were writing more often. It seems that he's sitting back and reaping the rewards of his satire. Good for him!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collecting laughs March 24 2003
By Glen Engel Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a comedy novel about collectors, with an oh-so-perfect title. It begins with a long list of things that collect, in all manifestations of the word, then proceeds to introduce us to a weird cross-section of British society. There is the car wash man with a craving for knowledge who decides to collect the entire contents of "The Books of Power," a strange encyclopedia set, into his memory. His boss, the prototypical used car salesman, with the pitch perfected, and a collection of knickers from his one-night stands (funny, how knickers is so much more tame than the American version "panties," no?). The wealthy auto collector and his wife who collects sexual experiences. And, finally, the narrator, who is writing a book on collectors, and so finds himself ironically in the position of collecting collectors.
The plot is an intricate construction that links all of the above together. I found it almost exactly opposite of a mystery novel, in that you have to unravel the events to get to the point, whereas Nicholson works to weave his characters together to show you the mystery. The book has echoes a couple of other works that I had read in the past, but these are not conscious on Nicholson's part, I believe, but simply the baggage I brought with me. It is similar to Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus, which should not be that surprising, as Fry's novel was also a British comedy about writers. It had some of the feel of A.S. Byatt's Possession, in that Nicholson continued to explore the theme of collecting much farther than I thought possible, and possession is an aspect of collecting.
It is a short book--only about 200 pages in the American edition--and Nicholson's prose style is breezy and vibrant, easily sped through. The only thing I could find to complain with was the strange narrative shifts early on when I had trouble placing the narrator in the sections told in what I had thought was third person, but later ended up being first person anecdotal. I've got Nicholson's earlier novel, The Food Chain, and I'm looking forward to spending three hours with it sometime soon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Nicholson novel so far July 15 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Having read 'Footsucker' and 'Volkwagens'; this is my favorite Nicholson novel so far. (The others were good too.) A great cast of eccentrics showcase the search for the nature of collectors and their collections.
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts strong, then fizzles Aug. 7 2001
By Dan Witte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved "Everything & More" and "Bleeding London," and while this book started with Nicholson's trademark razor-wire wit, I thought the last quarter or so of the book suffered from awkward, forced and unbelievable resolutions. I also found some of the social observations, which were so keen in the other Nicholson books I'd read, to be unconvincing and even, in some cases, irrelevant to the main story. I will say, though, that his metaphors are great, and I love the irony of a book of collected anecdotes railing against the collecting of anecdotes (among other things). I say skip this one and go right to "Everything & More."
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