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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem
A simply wonderful little book which I would not hesitate to recommend. Its packed full of ideas and makes one cogitate about life as each page is turned. The main success and the principle delight of the novel for me was in its evocation of falling in love and being in love. A book for all those who have ever been a student or admired or just simply longed for someone.
Published on 18 Sep 2002 by Elizabeth Taylor

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More pretentious than thrilling
At the risk of appearing to swim against the tide, I didn't find this a particularly thrilling book (the description of it as a 'literary thriller' is difficult to swallow). It wore its intellectual pretensions firmly on both sleeves, and risked being overwhelmed by those at the cost of the story. The attempt at a twist in the tail is heavy handed and largely pointless,...
Published on 21 July 2010 by Amazon Customer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, 18 Sep 2002
By 
Elizabeth Taylor (France) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
A simply wonderful little book which I would not hesitate to recommend. Its packed full of ideas and makes one cogitate about life as each page is turned. The main success and the principle delight of the novel for me was in its evocation of falling in love and being in love. A book for all those who have ever been a student or admired or just simply longed for someone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An involving, "unputdownable" and inspiring debut novel., 8 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
Duncker has written a wonderful, engaging and challenging piece of fiction, which uses "real" figures such as Foucault to background a marvellous story. The narrative draws on the relationship between the writer and the reader, with great effect. It is absolutely "unputdownable" (can be read in an afternoon!) and yet it isn't trashy airport-lounge stuff!
Duncker has wit, intelligence and insight. This is about love, human relationships, the impersonality (or not) of the author/writer and art, madness and many of Foucault's notions of governmentaltiy and power/knowledge.
A truly absorbing debut that will surely appeal to the casual reader who knows nothing of Foucault and yet, also, those who are more familiar with the theoretical underpinnings of the novel. Wonderful!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More pretentious than thrilling, 21 July 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
At the risk of appearing to swim against the tide, I didn't find this a particularly thrilling book (the description of it as a 'literary thriller' is difficult to swallow). It wore its intellectual pretensions firmly on both sleeves, and risked being overwhelmed by those at the cost of the story. The attempt at a twist in the tail is heavy handed and largely pointless, as it doesn't add anything to the plot as such.

But in places it is very well written, with some lovely turns of phrase. Unfortunately the sum of the parts in this case is insufficient to win me over. Perhaps if the lead characters had been more likeable (and dare I say believable) it would have been different. I wondered at times whether the Germanist would be better off swapping places with the novelist, given her sociopathic tendencies. The parallel was doubtless intended, but the novelist seemed considerably more sane!

The quality of the writing has much to offer, I just did not find the story particularly engaging, or the main characters any more so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, 5 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
It is not easy to describe this book. The writing is tight and poetic, the story is gripping. Take a few hours out of your life and read this book; it will stay in you mind for a long time. As far as debuts go this is one of the bravest and most impressive there is.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book - full of surprises., 31 Jan 2000
By 
M. C. Wherly (New Brighton, Merseyside United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
This novel was passed on to me by a friend with excellent taste. So I feared the worst. The mention of a doyen of lit crit in a title was an initial turn-off for me, but then one can never tell a book by either its cover or title. Having read it - and I don't propose to give even a hint of the story; it would feel like a theft from the author - I am inclined to give Foucault a go. Patricia Duncker has managed many difficult tricks with great nerve and verve. A book partly about why people write...for readers of course, but especially for that special person, that dearest him or her who dwells invisible. Writing is a kind of prayer. And writers seldom receive an answer from the ether. I'd say that writers often tend to lose sight of their readers. After all they can get to know their text so well that they can easily forget how difficult it can be for that first-time, waiting-to-be-won-over, reader. Duncker never forgets that she is not only writing for herself. From start to finish I felt included and not at all the bemused onlooker feeling thick. But behind the friendliness of the book is something deeper: the love that a satisfied reader can develop for the invisible author. It's the sort of affection that seldom speaks its name. How many of us write to an author who has moved or changed us? I suppose this sort of review sent off into the ether is the nearest I've ever come to that sort of thing. But that relationship between reader and writer - between creator and 'consumer' of art, is really what this book is about. It's also a most compelling story. I thought I had sussed how things were going to turn out on several occasions, but Ms Duncker was way ahead of me and the real twist in the narrative caught me completely off-guard. A delightful book. I'm on the look-out for more from this invisible author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Offensive twaddle, 14 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
What a strange novel. I bought it having read about it and then seen the reviews here on Amazon. I was shocked by the portrayal of mental illness and the fact that none of the reviewers mentioned this at all. Whether some of the views were derived from the work of Foucault or not, the ideas were far from any modern thinking, yet the novel had a contemporary setting. It is full of crass generalisations about "schizophrenics", identifying people by a label and not as individuals. They are all incapable of love was one of my favourites. I kept wondering if I'd missed that scenes were flashbacks, but no, it was supposed to be the 1990's.
It was particularly hilarious when the researcher was allowed to visit the author in a high secure unit which resulted in the author threatening to kill him. When he visited the next day he was allowed to go outside with him unescorted and soon out of the unit altogether. The secure unit wasn't very nice as the "schizophrenic" patients apparently smeared faeces all over the walls every day, when they weren't attacking people in violent rages, and then no-one bothered to clean it up. I thought mental health care in France was supposed to be more advanced than in Britain but this unit was a gothic 19th century Bedlam.
A little research might have helped. I doubt the author would have been allowed to visit a mental health unit owing to confidentiality and the human rights of patients but she might have been allowed to talk to someone who has experienced detention in hospital.
The second star is because some other aspects of the novel were quite well done.
There was one rather stereotyped portrayal of a gay man but I got the impression that the author might have met a gay man. If she's ever met anyone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia they obviously didn't leave a good impression, though I doubt if she could have written this insensitive novel if she had.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Formidable, 30 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
Thanks, Patricia Duncker - this was probably one of the best books I have read in the last two years. Not only the style that turns it into a real "page-turner" but the plot, the words - they all helped to construct a wonderful yet still challenging atmophere. I even found myself (or at least a part of myself) in the pedantic student of German Literature. In a German newspaper, the jouranlist regarded the story as humorous - no, it's not. It might seem like that, but in fact it is s story about passion, about love and about desire - and all those affections are bound to literature.
So are mine to that book. Brilliant.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and rivetting read, 16 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
Darkly erotic (as in all Duncker's best work), this tale is a rivetting page-turner and tumbles the reader into the roller-coaster world of falling in love and being in love. An inspirational debut and the seed of all the author's later work.
One I'd definitely recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deceptively Small Book, 2 Mar 2011
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
`Hallucinating Foucault' is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator who is researching the work and lives of the mysterious author Paul Michel. A project that starts whilst he is studying in Cambridge soon becomes an obsession and a quest that takes him to Paris and the south of France. Really that's the best way that you can sum up the plot, however `Hallucinating Foucault' is so much more than that, yet of course trying to place all its themes and idea's in a review is quite a challenge, as it soon becomes a page turning (I know, I know it's a cliché to say that, sorry) piece of literature.

As our narrator meets his lover, `the Germanist', as he calls her (who is a rather interesting and deceptive character who keeps you on your toes) in Cambridge and afterwards his initial admiration for Paul Michel takes an obsessive turn when he hears the mysterious tale of Michel's incarceration into a mental home. The Germanist and her gay father, Michel the fictional author in the novel also happens to be homosexual, then push him to go and uncover just what happened and why a man who meant so much to many has ended up in such a situation. What could it have been that drew this man to madness? Could it be to do with the great, and real, Michel Foucault (the French philosopher who I now want to learn much more about) himself?

What follows, without giving too much away, is a thrilling tale (though not in the way you might think `thrillers' stereotypically are) and journey of self discovery. Duncker uses this tale not only to discuss sexuality, which becomes a key part of the novel, but also to look at the relationship between the people who write the book and those who read them. In fact it's a wonderful discussion of how reading and writing work yet rather than being a long boring `lit-crit' non fiction tome we have a slim novel that really packs a punch and if you love books and reading you will become totally lost in it.

'Hallucinating Foucault' is a deceptively slim looking book. I don't mean that when you start reading it its so heavy and full of things that it bogs you down from the start, in fact quite the reverse. From the opening pages Duncker pulls you into a tale that at first seems like it could be one sort of book and then becomes several books rolled into one whilst remaining incredibly readable. She also shows how many tools a writer has, the book is written in first `unnamed' narrative for the main but also features dream sequences, letters from Michel to Foucault and newspaper clippings and reports. It's like she is celebrating language and its uses.

I was quite shocked to discover this was her debut novel from 1996 as it reads like a book written by an author well into their writing life. This is an incredible fictional book about books and the relationship between reader and writer. It's also a book I can't recommend highly enough.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book, 11 Jan 2007
By 
A. W. Fletcher "ant" (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
This is my comfort book - the one I turn to when I'm lonely or feeling down - I love it to bits. I'm not sure what the other reviewer is going on about but everything about this book is brilliant - if you look at the other versions you'll see the other reviews reflect this. Strongly Recommended.
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Hallucinating Foucault by Patricia Duncker
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