Hunters & Gatherers Paperback – 12 Oct 2000
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An original and wickedly funny novel of collecting, obsession and writing
From the Back Cover
In this maddeningly clever novel about collectors, collecting and a search for the world's most reclusive writer since J.D. Salinger, Steve Geddes is a writer who has been commissioned to write a book about collectors. His research introduces him to a Felliniesque cast of characters, including an alluring woman named Victoria who collects lovers who collect cars. While some try to organize the chaos of the universe by collecting, others do it by amassing knowledge. One of these others is Steve's friend Jim, who has made a long term financial commitment to purchase all 18 volumes of The Books of Power, the most eccentric encyclopedia ever written (the entry on Britain begins "England swings like a pendulum do"). Steve notices there is an entry on the reclusive writer, Thornton McCain, that mentions a novel Steve has never heard of - The Bullet Leaves the Gun. In spite of himself, Steve sets out in search of this possibly apocryphal book and its reclusive author, and what he finds is astounding. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The characters are very real and believable - all the threads of the story interlink very cleverly by the end of the novel, although some may find it all a little too convenient.
Part thriller, part comedy, part just a normal guy going about writing a book - the pace never lets up and I found it a complete page turner.
Since reading this have bought and read "Bleeding London" and "Footsucker" and thouroughly enjoyed them - although both of them are a lot darker in their humour.
Having bought/lent/recommended "Hunters & Gatherers" to others - not one person I know who has read it has not thoroughly enjoyed it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
They come together in a variety of ways, and the author manages along the way to make sense about why people collect the things they do and why collecting can be an unhealthy obsession.
A few years ago, I read “Everything and More” by this author, and it ranks as one of my all time favorite novels. I’ve read a few of his books since and they are not exceptionally interesting. Perhaps I hold him to the high standard of the other book.
Television shows often feature stories without a plot. The goal is to develop the characters through a series of misadventures. This book is that kind of non plot.
If you like reading the unusual novel, Nicholson might be the author for you.
The plot is an intricate construction that links all of the above together. I found it almost exactly opposite of a mystery novel, in that you have to unravel the events to get to the point, whereas Nicholson works to weave his characters together to show you the mystery. The book has echoes a couple of other works that I had read in the past, but these are not conscious on Nicholson's part, I believe, but simply the baggage I brought with me. It is similar to Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus, which should not be that surprising, as Fry's novel was also a British comedy about writers. It had some of the feel of A.S. Byatt's Possession, in that Nicholson continued to explore the theme of collecting much farther than I thought possible, and possession is an aspect of collecting.
It is a short book--only about 200 pages in the American edition--and Nicholson's prose style is breezy and vibrant, easily sped through. The only thing I could find to complain with was the strange narrative shifts early on when I had trouble placing the narrator in the sections told in what I had thought was third person, but later ended up being first person anecdotal. I've got Nicholson's earlier novel, The Food Chain, and I'm looking forward to spending three hours with it sometime soon.