The Thought Gang
by Tibor Fischer
I read this more or less in one sitting thanks to a heroic delay on Connex South Central Trains - for which I am very thankful. I laughed quite hysterically, causing alarm among fellow passengers…I hope this book does the same for you. A bald, naked, hung - over philosopher called Coffin resumes consciousness, surrounded by the police in a derelict London flat.
He goes on the run, the scene shifts to the South of France, where things are more interesting, even dying. Coffin explains his new existence through references to Fifth Century Athenian philosophy. Life on the margins of society suits him, it gives him ample time to ponder the nature of things and to loaf. It's not bad being a fugitive, until the money runs out.
Musing and loafing is rudely cut short by the arrival of Hubert the bank robber. He is a wonderful and unforgettable character, who exists, not very successfully with half the usual number of working parts (e.g. eyes, ears, legs and arms.) Hube and the Prof make a demonic team, lurching from one bank robbery to another, often apologetic, towards the ultimate heist.
Fischer has an extraordinary and anarchic imagination. The rapid - fire wit and roller - coaster trip through philosophy, life and experience made this a very enjoyable book for me.
If you are in the mood for an off - beat thriller, and you enjoy meeting grotesque, extreme and unlikely characters then sit back and enjoy the ride. And who could possibly argue with Fischer's dictionary of words beginning with 'Z'? Scrabble will never be the same again!