Hume's Fork

Hume's Fork

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by Ron Cooper
     
 

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Barely adequate philosophy professor Legare Hume has a mind-body problem. No matter how far he goes, no matter how hard he thinks, he can’t escape the world he lives in. On the run from his wife Tally, Legare joins brilliant but exceptionally awkward colleague Saul Grossman to attend the American Philosophical Association’s Charleston, SC conference,… See more details below

Overview

Barely adequate philosophy professor Legare Hume has a mind-body problem. No matter how far he goes, no matter how hard he thinks, he can’t escape the world he lives in. On the run from his wife Tally, Legare joins brilliant but exceptionally awkward colleague Saul Grossman to attend the American Philosophical Association’s Charleston, SC conference, where worlds and walks of life collide in a strange and satirical amalgamation that can only be described as reality.

Legare’s mission is simple enough: put up with the conference, read a paper he never thought anyone would want to hear, receive the tenure he isn’t sure he wants, and return, or not, to the wife who nearly killed him before he left. But his plans are hijacked by a botched hotel reservation and the all-too-convenient presence of the Southern family Legare has worked very hard all his adult life to avoid.

Circumstances—namely the inconvenient death of a mentally challenged uncle— bring the whole family together: Mama and the Old Man, his backwards but well-meaning parents; too-religious Aunt Arlene and irritating Uncle Spessard; and Uncle Rembert, whose shady goings-on may force Legare to actually take action for once in his passive life. The only two family members he can tolerate are his sensible sister Willie, and her endearing son Unitas.

Meanwhile, wrestlers in the guise of religious figures enact the Apocalypse. Wrestlers philosophize and philosophers wrestle. The mind-body argument is solved, then unsolved, then solved again. Dismantled theories are defended at gunpoint. Philosophical celebrities are created through competitive tic-tac-toe matches.

And through it all, there’s Lucian, Legare’s late brother, who killed himself years ago. What does his death mean? What’s the family secret Legare has been hiding from? What’s there to learn from this rapid-fire collision of worlds, where all kinds of people and all kinds of views are inherently and bizarrely connected? And what will it take for Legare to be both in and of the world?

Hume’s Fork is a brilliantly satirical and philosophical novel, every bit as funny as it is intelligent—a true original. Legare’s conflict—Hume’s fork, if you will— becomes the reader’s, for all worlds are one, and nothing can truly be separate from everything else.

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Editorial Reviews

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“This is a wacky novel, even for a satire. Author Ron Cooper manages to tell a funny, fast-paced, hugely entertaining story that balances intricate philosophical ideas with outright zaniness (philosophizing wrestlers). Comparisons to John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces are not without merit, though Michael Malone's Handling Sin is closer to the mark. Its similarity to these contemporary classics aside, Cooper's novel is not at all derivative." --BOOKLIST
Ron Rash
“Hume's Fork is not only a very impressive debut, but one of the funniest novels I've read in a long time. Like John Kennedy Toole and Kingsley Amis, author Ron Cooper displays a gifted attentiveness to the foibles of the academic world.” (RON RASH IS A PEN/FAULKNER FINALIST FOR SERENA AND AUTHOR OF ACCLAIMED NOVELS ONE FOOT IN EDEN AND THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT)
Lee Irby
"It doesn't seem possible for a first-time novelist to write a book that is tender, funny, intelligent, and satirical, but Ron Cooper has done exactly that. Hume's Fork is unlike any book I've ever read: satisfying as a philosophy text, compelling as a drama, and redemptive in its trashing of academic stuffed shirts. He writes about the South as a only a native son can, with the right combination of pathos and punch." (LEE IRBY IS AUTHOR OF 7,000 CLAMS AND THE UP AND UP)
Enid Shomer
“Hume’s Fork, a first-class farce with something for everyone, is about people just like you and me—rednecks with PhDs, wrestlers, rednecks without PhDs, a church with ‘corn-fed members,’ and one lapsed Hasid who accidentally solves philosophy’s most profound riddle—the mind/body problem. May Hume’s Fork find its many readers! It made me laugh out loud.” (ENID SHOMER IS AUTHOR OF TOURIST SEASON, RANDOM HOUSE 2007)
Rebecca Goldstein
“Only Ron Cooper could have written Hume’s Fork. How can I make this claim with such consummate confidence? Because of the high improbability that anyone at all could have cooked up this mix of zaniness and erudition, satire and insight. Hume’s Fork is as delicious as it is original.” (REBECCA GOLDSTEIN IS A PHILOSOPHER, NOVELIST, AND MACARTHUR FELLOW)
Booklist -
“This is a wacky novel, even for a satire. Author Ron Cooper manages to tell a funny, fast-paced, hugely entertaining story that balances intricate philosophical ideas with outright zaniness (philosophizing wrestlers). Comparisons to John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces are not without merit, though Michael Malone's Handling Sin is closer to the mark. Its similarity to these contemporary classics aside, Cooper's novel is not at all derivative."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890862794
Publisher:
Bancroft Press
Publication date:
04/10/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
259
Sales rank:
1,248,436
File size:
0 MB

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