Category: Racism

Shalom Auslander: Mother for Dinner

The latest addition to my website is Shalom Auslander‘s Mother for Dinner. This is a wickedly funny satire on identity politics and racism. Our hero is Seventh Seltzer and he is a Cannibal American (CA). The CA first immigrated to the US in 1918 though no-one seems to be sure where the Old Country is or, indeed, what it was like (there are two competing myths). Seventh is the seventh son of a woman the children merely know as Mudd – we never know her real name – and she is fiercely protective of the CA traditions and fiercely racist towards other groups. However, there is one tradition the CA have kept. When someone dies the immediate family has to eat the corpse. Mudd is preparing herself for death by stuffing herself with hamburgers. Her children, most of whom have married people who are not CA, are naturally reluctant to eat her but they discover if they do not they will not inherit the proceeds of the sale of the large Brooklyn house. Many of them have financial problems and need the money. What to do? Call Unclish, their father’s brother and keep of the flame and take Mudd’s body to the long since abandoned CA University and prepare for the feast. The book is very funny and holds nothing sacred though some will find it offensive.

Josef Pánek: Láska v době globálních klimatických změn [Love in the Time of Global Climate Change]

The latest addition to my website is Josef Pánek‘s Láska v době globálních klimatických změn [Love in the Time of Global Climate Change]. This is a witty (with Czech-style wit) novel about racism and racial differences. Tomáš is a divorced molecular biologist, attending a conference in Bangalore. He does not like the place – the heat, the smell, the noise, the food, the lack of alcohol. He has not had sex for some time (exactly how much depends on his mood) and cannot countenance having sex with an Indian woman. He then meets an Indian woman, first in the street and later at the conference and he starts to wonder whether he was mistaken. Throughout the book he mocks those he meets, the places he visits, his family, the Czech institutions and above all, himself and his attitudes. It is very funny but, at the same time, seriously discusses the issue of racism and racial differences.

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