Boxer, Beetleby Ned Beauman
Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason-a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of… See more details below
Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason-a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history. First, there's Philip Erskine, a fascist gentleman entomologist who dreams of breeding an indomitable beetle as tribute to Reich Chancellor Hitler's glory, all the while aspiring to arguably more sinister projects in human eugenics. And then there's Seth "Sinner" Roach, a homosexual Jewish boxer, nine-toed, runtish, brutish-but perfect in his way-who becomes an object of obsession for Erskine, professionally and most decidedly otherwise. What became of the boxer? What became of the beetle? And what will become of anyone who dares to unearth the answers?
First-time novelist Ned Beauman spins out a dazzling narrative across decades and continents, weaving his manic fiction through the back alleys of history. Boxer, Beetle is a remarkably assured, wildly enjoyable debut.
Perhaps the most politically incorrect novel of the decade--as well as the funniest.
Witty, erudite… articulate and original…often gobsmackingly smutty.
Many first novels are judged promising. Boxer, Beetle arrives fully formed: original, exhilarating, and hugely enjoyable.
A heart-stoppingly creative debut. He snares you with a new hook every page.
Beauman strides where lesser writers wouldn't dare tiptoe. Maintains a high wire balance between giddy vulgarity, metafiction, and the sadness of being alive.
A premise as wonderfully outlandish as any we've seen in a long while... oddball and rambunctious... funny, raw and stylish.
A rambunctious, deftly plotted delight.
First-novelist Beauman, who is just 26 years old, has concocted a bizarre and funny mystery that is filled with eccentric scholarship... Those seeking something completely different will be amply rewarded.
Brilliant… I can only gape in admiration at a new writing force.
Beauman writes with wit and verve.
Prodigiously clever and energetically entertaining.
Dazzling…As in P.G. Wodehouse and the early Martin Amis the tone is mischievous and impudent.
His killer irony evokes early Evelyn Waugh…the funniest new book I've read in a year or two.
Many adjectives come to mind when describing Beauman's debut novel, but "strange" surely applies. Readers may feel compelled to shower after taking in this satiric tale (both funny and repellent) of fascism, eugenics, boxing, entomology, sex and murder.
Kevin Broom suffers from trimethylaminuria, a rare genetic condition that makes him smell like rotten fish, so he mostly spends his days in his London flat collecting Nazi memorabilia online. But he stumbles on a crime scene that takes the story back to the 1930s with Hitler in ascendance and some British holding him in awe. Broom learns about a five-foot-tall, nine-toed, hard-drinking Jewish homosexual boxer, appropriately named "Sinner" Roach, whose death in the 1930s is even uglier than his life. A eugenicist who wants to study him has previously focused on insects to learn whether he can breed undesirable traits out of them. (Think Aryan beetles.) The story wonderfully mocks eugenics and fascism, while the writing bursts with imaginative metaphors. For example: "Silkstone was a cheerful burly man whose laughter could have torn the stitches out of a straitjacket." Or: "Twelve-year-old Millicent had so many freckles that Erskine wondered if she had stolen some from other children."Unfortunately, the novel has no oases of sanity or likability, no character to care about or wish well. Millicent likes to burst into a room and breathlessly accuse people of perverse sex acts, but no one pays attention to her since she doesn't even understand her own words. Meanwhile, who cares whether Broom solves the mystery or whether Erskine unearths the secrets of racial purity or whether Sinner will become the flyweight boxing champion. Who cares who is buggering whom, and in what graphic detail?The only truly interesting question is how Sinner dies.
If Franz Kafka had a sense of humor, perhaps he would have written a book like this one: quirky, comical, brilliant and, somehow, ultimately disagreeable.
- Bloomsbury USA
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- 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
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The synopsis of this story about sums it up and to add any more detail would surely ruin it for the reader. Imaginative and original, the Boxer Beetle is a collage of literary style, but not in a rip-off sort of way, but rather, cleverly interrogating classic greats paying homage to the boundary breakers who came before this generation. A pace-setting, genre-spanning tale that breeds Salinger, Kafka and Miller into a pretty specimen that can hold its own weight in any class or fight. Something about this dark tale gets under the skin and stews. I was thinking about it long after the back cover closed. It's a deeply thematic and morally provocative tale--definitely worth a read.
so funny, smart and awesome.