Hedyphagetica

Hedyphagetica

by Austryn Wainhouse
     
 

Hedyphagetica is a powerful political satire, a ribald comedy, and a desperate love letter to a woman named Aime?. "Oh my, yes, I am afraid that in the beginning was the word..." So begins the narrator's account of his homeland, Gron, a country whose militaristic and authoritarian government bombs its own people at air shows—to keep them awed—and leads

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Overview

Hedyphagetica is a powerful political satire, a ribald comedy, and a desperate love letter to a woman named Aime?. "Oh my, yes, I am afraid that in the beginning was the word..." So begins the narrator's account of his homeland, Gron, a country whose militaristic and authoritarian government bombs its own people at air shows—to keep them awed—and leads them into pointless and interminable wars to keep them properly motivated Employing all the tools of modernity to achieve a medieval brand of repression, Gron is a grim place. The narrator, attempting a kind of history, tells his story through the life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (no relation), an everyman who suffers every indignity his government can offer (including having an eye removed to "cure" his migraines).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In a 1960 essay on American ex-pats in Paris, Gay Talese mentions Austryn Wainhouse and his "strong, esoteric novel, Hedyphagetica," in which a one-eyed schlemiel named Dr. Samuel Johnson (not the DictionaryJohnson) becomes the most famous prisoner in the mythical country of Grön. The first and last sections of the novel are parts of a letter written by the unnamed "official historian" of Grön to his lover, Aimée, who stands high in the court of the "Accuser," Claude-Maxime, a crazed tyrant. The Accuser has kept the state in perpetual war since his coup d'état 39 years before and subjects the homeland to any number of repressions. Dr. Samuel Johnson, for one, was born to a wealthy, liberal family, was drafted into the army, served six years, and was then arrested for obscure reasons and sentenced to 14 years in a prison factory. Released, he was rearrested. Johnson's misery reflects the state's brutality, which may now have the populace at a boiling point. Structurally, Wainhouse's novel is a verbal gallimaufry that contains a prescient satire. His best writing is in the conversation of the characters, of which there is too little, but his targets are still legitimate. (Aug.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564784674
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Series:
American Literature (Dalkey Archive) Series
Pages:
217
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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