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Hallucinating Foucault Paperback – 6 Mar 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (6 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747585156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747585152
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘A brilliant first novel – dark, romantic and scholarly’ -- Fay Weldon, Sunday Times

‘If you buy one book make it Hallucinating Foucault … this novel leaves you perspiring, but chillingly inspired’ -- Observer

‘Ominous, classical, dark and romantic’ -- Louis de Bernières

‘Stylish, surprising, teasing, but above all grippingly readable’ -- Margaret Drabble

From the Publisher

A literary thriller that explores with consummate mastery the passionate relationship between reader and writer, between the factual and the fictional, between sanity and madness.

Hallucinating Foucault was winner of the Dillons First Fiction Award 1996 and the McKitterick Prize

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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By Elizabeth Taylor VINE VOICE on 18 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
Unlike anything I've read before, thought-provoking and searingly emotional, this book has remained among my absolute favourites over the past decade, worthy of rereading time and again.

Rather than comment on the plot (intriguing) or her style (lyrical) I can only say that her debut novel remains unique. One to stir the soul and awaken the brain.
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Format: 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.
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By A Customer on 5 Jan. 2001
Format: 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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By A Customer on 30 Nov. 2001
Format: 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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