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Posted August 2, 2000
My only experience with Julian Barnes is 'Flaubert's Parrot', an exhilarating novel-like book concerning the author's fascination with Gustave Flaubert, in general and, specifically, 'Madame Bovary'. It is written in jarringly disparate styles and in a soaring language that requires no less than your absolute attention and devotion. <P> Then there's 'Duffy'. <P> Written pseudonymously, 'Duffy' is a crime novel more than a mystery, in which the titular character is drawn into the web of a Soho crime lord at the request of a minor criminal who masquerades as a legitimate businessman. The language here is a polar opposite of the highfalutin' text of 'Flaubert's Parrot' - Duffy's world is one populated by pimps, prostitutes and porn-kings, and the dialog is highly-seasoned with slang and regionalism peculiar to London's SOHO district. So much so that the novel is difficult for the average American to read, requiring that many of the terms' meanings be inferred contextually. <P> This is a violent and frankly sexual book (Duffy is bisexual and spends a great deal of time in porn houses). I say this only to warn those who might be put off from it by these subjects. But if you are not faint-hearted, this book may be for you - it fascinates and intrigues, it takes you to the very depths of human possibility. That's a lot to ask of a crime novel, but 'Duffy' delivers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.