by MacDonald Harris.
London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1968. Also
New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969.
From the Jacket:
And so it was my own fault; I had consciously willed what had happened and I was absolutely
responsible. I had arrived at the final logical end of the holy man system. Once
you have entered into emotional relations with people,
even if it is only to cure them of a disease, there is
no place to stop...I was completely committed to what
I did next...
The narrator of this sad, funny, completely engrossing book is a
successful psychiatrist with a lovely wife and family and
all the toys that middle-class affluence can buy.
He speaks these words just before he performs
a deed that irreparably shatters his world. From this
moment on, his story is that of a man caught in a haunting, humorous
odyssey into the depths of himself.
Stripped by the consequences of his act of
all his "possessions," encased in a
terrible emotional detachment, he
travels through Europe in the tow of a disturbed rich
widow to whose terrible fate he passively
contributes. The motivations of his existence, which makes his narrative a very fascinating
mixture of self-mocking humor, suspense, and meaningful commentary, are
best indicated by MacDonald Harris's own statement:
" I believe that it is possible for a man
to want to kill a woman because she threw his shoes out of the
Closely connected to the idea of Trepleff, Chekhov's pathetic
hero in The Sea Gull, the narrator's story
offers scope for interpretations on
many levels--a brilliant tour de force that
propels MacDonald Harris into the company of today's finest
Critical Acclaim for Trepleff:
- "Trepleff is intensely interesting...MacDonald Harris is very
able and original. He writes with humour, wit, and energy. I was
sorry when the book was finished and I hope he
is going to write more."
- "This novel seems to me excitingly relevant in its examination
not so much of man's inhumanity to man as man's
uncaringness. The horrors of the central relationship will stay with
me for a long while...The novel is in no sense 'literary.' It has
the reality 'to make you see,' and its value and its power come
from the total honest of the examination of lvoers
destroying each other and themselves in their
terrible failure to break out of the isolation of their
own selfishness, to lvoe, to care a little, or
even to relate--which failure may come to destroy our world as well."
See the review on Kirkus Reviews.
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