From Publishers Weekly
Mosley won the Whitbread Prize for Hopeful Monsters
(1990) and has written 25 other works of fiction and nonfiction centering on philosophical quandaries, political instabilities and religious impasses. This time out, an unnamed retired Oxford professor of anthropology and cultural studies has becomes a talk show fixture thanks to his inflammatory rhetoric: "Of course suicide bombers are the most disliked sort of terrorists, because then there are no defendants from whom lawyers can get fat fees." Visiting New York City for a series of television appearances in the wake of 9/11, he gets hit by a car and, lying in a morphine-induced stupor, envisions the women of his life, including first wife Valerie; current wife Valentina; the one-legged African woman with whom he slept while on his honeymoon; and a young Iranian woman, Nadia, whose own complicated and nebulous history is entangled with his philosophies on fidelity, sin and grace. The resulting narrative has an apocalyptic feel, but Mosley's observations on the power and limitations of human communication are thought provoking (though parallels between the Tower of Babel and two other towers are overdone), and his acerbic narrator never quite gives up hope. (Mar.)
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Prolific British novelist Mosley brings his natty wit to a snappy episodic tale about a retired professor turned notorious jester in the court of public discourse until he is nearly killed while in New York for a television appearance. As he recovers with the help of both his first and second wives, and wonders why his unmarried son is adopting a baby, he attempts to sort out his memories about an African woman who lost a leg to a land mine, a young Iranian woman in need of sanctuary, a plucky girl on a bus, and a group of adventurous blind children at the zoo. Rife with erotic, political, metaphysical, and moral implications, his piquant musings unobtrusively explicate the tragedies of war, the divides between men and women and humans and animals, the threat of chaos, and the struggle to do right. Mosley's engaging stream-of-consciousness novel raises serious questions beneath the froth of its hilarious repartee, resulting in a tale brimming with compassion for flawed humankind and unabashed amazement at the unending strangeness of being. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved