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The Thought Gang Paperback – 15 Jan 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (15 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099516926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099516927
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Hilarious, fast-moving stuff" (Independent)

"Not since Woody Allen has philosophy had such a hilarious application" (Guardian)

"A fast-paced, off-beat thriller... It's a zany novel with depth and a fresh, almost controversial prose style that gives you the creeping impression that you have just hitched a lift with one hell of an imagination" (List)

"Acerbic, dashingly inventive, very funny indeed" (Christopher Hitchens Mail on Sunday)

"Fischer has a unique ability to hinge the most unlikely concepts together... charcoaling ideas to gem-hardened, irresistibly funny insights" (Time Out)

Book Description

A black comedy in the grand tradition of word-drunk intellectuals-en-dementia from the author of Booker-shortlisted Under the Frog.

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First Sentence
The only advice I can offer, should you wake up vertiginously in a strange flat, with a thoroughly installed hangover, without any of your clothing, without any recollection of how you got there, with the police sledgehammering down the door to the accompaniment of excited dogs, while you are surrounded by bales of lavishly-produced magazines featuring children in adult acts, the only advice I can offer is to try be good-humoured and polite. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Middle-aged layabout Eddie Coffin wakes up naked & groggy in an apartment full of child-pornography just as the police break in. If you ever find yourself in similar circumstances, Eddie advises "try to be good-humoured and polite" because "it makes the police fret about having got something wrong."
So begins this hilarious tale of a tenured philosopher at Cambridge who absconds with departmental funds to France, where he meets up with a deranged(?) one-armed robber named Hubert, a psychopath with "a gluttony for erudition." Soon the two of them are on an increasingly improbable crime-spree, rifling bank-vaults & schools of thought with equal aplomb.
As the loot mounts and the police circle ever closer, Eddie & Hubert decide to make one last, climactic heist, to put the capper on their caper career and to put their philosophical conclusions (which include contributions from the Ancient Greeks to Nietzche) to the ultimate practical test.
Tibor Fischer has created a side-splitting narrative that is as full of deep intelligence as it is full of belly-rending guffaws. This is a novel whose pace puts the average potboiler to shame and whose implications stretch the envelope for literary fiction. Eddie & Hubert are characters you will love to hate and vice-versa. If you have an appetite for Felony and Philosophy, then this book is a must-read, a re-read, and a keeper.
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Format: Paperback
Tibor Fischer's excellent meditation upon the indubitable crapness but inherent attractiveness of life instantly joined my top ten novels of all time upon my first reading, and climbs higher up the chart with every revisit.
The quality of writing is impressive, a real joy is taken in playing with words, sending sentences cascading towards sometimes hairy conclusions with the irreverence of a drunken muskateer, to which the plot, when it is evident, plays a sometimes psychotic foil. Do not read this novel in a public place, unfortunately, laughing alone is no longer viewed as socially acceptable.
Somewhere between the laughs though, a depth of emotion and seductive strength of characterisation draw you into this other world, and there are a few one-line asides on the general impossibility of life, that would make any philosopher proud.
All in all then, the novel serves as a hilarious analogy for life as it appears within the novel, hugely imperfect, but strangely beautiful and effective.
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Format: Paperback
A hilarious, and very tongue in cheek, caper following the exploits of an English philosophy professor and a one-legged, streetwise, French, small-time robber.
It has a happy mix of tomfoolery, sex and irreverance for the law, all hanging loosely to a plot of crime and bank-robbery. You will be amazed at their attitudes toward their crimes, and laugh out loud at their treatment of the bungling local constabulary. The pace, and their crimes, build through the pages, culminating with the piece de resistance.
Anyone who likes that acrid whit of Irvine Walsh, or the goonish antics of the Marx Brothers is guaranteed to find this hilarious. Those of a more conservative nature may still find it a chuckle, but may be a little bemused by the characters' antics. Read it and see for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
This book is quirky in the extreme, but such good fun that your carried along in the nonsense of it all. It seems at times that Mr Fischer has just had a thought of something he can put into the story and rather than wait for an opening decides to examine that idea there and then.
And somehow he manages to fit a philosophy A to Z (or Zeeif you've been educated through song and a Giant Yellow bird) into the story line without it ever getting boring.
The only reason I'd only award 4 stars is that I felt it was let down a little by the ending. This may sound daft but it just kinda ends....
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By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At around page 130, I had to resist a strong urge to hurl 'The Thought Gang' across the room. At the very least, it was to be sent to the charity shop. Then I found myself stranded, with this book as my only source of entertainment. Which turned out to be a lucky break; as I read more, something clicked, and I found it to be unputdownable.

Apart from the dislikeable nature of the two main characters, the main barrier to my finding a way into 'The Thought Gang', was the author's rarefied use of language. Though the narrator's pretentious, thesaurus swallowing-vocabulary was in character, it upset the flow of the story. The author's insistence of using obscure words (that more often than not started with the letter 'Z'), did little to enhance the tale. To me, it felt like the literary equivalent of yelling 'Look at me! Look at me!' If it wasn't for some astute observation and several laugh-out-loud moments in the opening chapters, I would have lost interest well before page 130.

So where did it all go right? My initial attempts at trying to read 'The Thought Gang' were fragmented, due to lack of time. Once I'd had a chance read a decent sized chunk in one sitting, the esoteric language washed over me, and I was even able to luxuriate in it. Perhaps it was because I finally understood the point Fischer was making - Life sucks, but it's all we've got; moments of joy are rare and unexpected, and that makes them all the sweeter.

The exploits of the two main characters - philosopher, bank-robbers - are farcical, and with the novel being set in France, they feel like the criminal fraternity's version of Inspector Clouseau.
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