Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MischiefMischief by Chris Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chris Wilson's "Mischief" is one of the funniest books I have ever read. It attests to Mr. Wilson's literary skills that the book is hilarious while being nothing less than a philosophical treatise on the weaknesses and evils of human nature. To provide a sample of Mr. Wilson's writing and humor here is a fragment where he compares ideas and people: "Principles are precious, pure and brilliant; whilst people are dull and sordid [...] Which do you prefer - Truth, Art or your neighbour?"

Charlie, the narrator of the story, is found as a baby in Brazilian rain-forest by a British zoologist, Dr. Duckworth, who adopts him and takes him to England. Charlie learns that he is the last of the Xique Xique tribe. As he is almost hairless and orange-colored and as he seems to be developing at a slower rate than other people, he believes he is not a human being but rather a hominid creature, a different species than homo sapiens. Even so, he completes his university education, finds a job, and manages to succeed in quite a few sexual conquests. There is much more to the plot but it does not need to be divulged.

Charlie's special circumstances give him an opportunity to illuminate and condemn some of the worst vices of human race: hypocrisy, vanity, stupidity, affinity to violence, etc. "People - the hyenas of creation." is the most astute characterization of the human nature I have ever encountered. The "learned class", the academia, is the subject of especially biting satire, and rightly so. The novel is full of wisdom and despite its philosophical themes it is never boring. Clever word-plays and often outrageously funny humor make the book a pleasure to read.

It is a deeply unusual book, a one-of-a-kind gem. My thanks to the Complete Reviews website ( ) for the hint.

Four and three quarter stars.

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