Varying Degrees of Hopelessness

Varying Degrees of Hopelessness

3.8 (68 ratings by Goodreads)
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In an eminent London art institute - the Catafalque - Our Heroine Isabel (she of the obsessional habits, perpetual virginity and peculiar belly button) sit in wistful contemplation of Chardin's brushstrokes and the virile red socks of passing lecturers. Isabel's wholly imaginary love life (based on the romantic notions of authoress Babs Cartwheel) bears little resemblance to that of her flatmate Pol, who prefers to grip reality by the balls. Enter Robert, victim of an American childhood, kitsch memorabilia, academic rivalry, Pol's belly-dancing and Isabel's mute adoration. Can he be perverse enough not to despair?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 13mm | 159g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747562725
  • 9780747562726
  • 1,204,840

Review quote

It's worrying when a publisher describes an author's book as 'the breakthrough novel' and more so when certain words on each page are printed in CAPITAL LETTERS. Ellmann's fourth novel is an acquired taste, verging on the PRETENTIOUS, yet riven with ironic, acidic and unique observations about life and death. Dot's 'perfect husband' uses the cover of his fishing trips for affairs with insatiable women. For unconnected reasons - being 40 and terrified of death - she decides to hang herself and, having failed, kills off various old ladies instead. The plot gets zanier and more outrageous, especially in the underworld and Dot's reincarnation as a possum. However, Ellmann's devices challenge our preconceptions. What if lobsters rose up and boiled us alive or oysters ate us raw?
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About Lucy Ellmann

Lucy Ellmann's other novels are SWEET DESSERTS, which won the 1988 GUARDIAN Fiction Prize, MAN OR MANGO? and DOT IN THE UNIVERSE.
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Rating details

68 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 29% (20)
4 37% (25)
3 21% (14)
2 12% (8)
1 1% (1)
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