A Dead Hand

A Dead Hand : A Crime in Calcutta

2.95 (685 ratings by Goodreads)
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When Jerry Delfont, an aimless travel writer with writer's block (his -dead hand-), receives a letter from an American philanthropist, Mrs. Merrill Unger, with news of a scandal involving an Indian friend of her son's, he is intrigued. Who is the dead boy, found on the floor of a cheap hotel room? How and why did he die? And what is Jerry to make of a patch of carpet, and a package containing a human hand? He is swiftly captivated by the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. Unger--and revived by her tantric massages--but the circumstances surrounding the dead boy cause him increasingly to doubt the woman's motives and the exact nature of her philanthropy. Without much to go on, Jerry pursues answers from the teeming streets of Calcutta to Uttar Pradesh. It is a dark and twisted trail of obsession and need. Beautifully written, A Dead Hand demonstrates the powerful evocation of place and character that has made Paul Theroux one of the most perceptive and engaging writers today.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 279 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • Mariner Books
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0547394497
  • 9780547394497
  • 496,702

Review quote

-...the real pleasure is Theroux's talent for rendering place and his irreverent comments on everything from the British royals to pop culture, aging, and yes, the venerable Mother Teresa.- -- Publishers Weekly -A novel of extremes--rationality and obsession, humanitarianism and selfishness, ecstasy and heartlessness.- -- Kirkus Reviews -...an abundance of richly drawn characters...Theroux has used his travel writer's eye and ear and his novelist's imagination to craft a tense, disturbing, funny and horrifying book around all of them.- -- San Francisco Chronicle -Theroux brings his best gifts as a travel writer to one of his walk-on-the-dark-side fables of masked identity and psychosexual quest...[His] writing is as feline and agile as ever, and his calibration of clue and revelation is nicely meted out...this story will lure you in, from its whodunit setup to its swift, unexpectedly visionary close.- -- The Seattle Timesshow more

Rating details

685 ratings
2.95 out of 5 stars
5 7% (48)
4 22% (151)
3 39% (266)
2 24% (164)
1 8% (56)
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