OF AN ANATOMIST
pathologists think about when they relax
after a hard day with the scalpel and,
once in the author's case, entering the
skull of a bear-like American Indian
"only after long and arduous work
with a motor-powered saw"?
the very nature of their employ frees
them from the taboos generally associated
with social discussion and contemplation
of our physical mortality and open-up an
avenue of thought not shackled by the
collection of essays, already admired
overseas for their (inevitable) black
humour, are further memorable for their
clarity, spirit of inquiry and pleasing
lack of professional arrogance.
writer ponders subjects such as embalming
(celebrating the ancient Egyptians but
dismissive of the commercial orientations
of modern American practices), the
phenomena of twins, the strange lore of
bodily appendages (giving specific
reference to Gogol's nose and the
buttock's lack of literary affection),
plus brief pieces on 'Monsters' and the
attractions of Musca domestica'
the common house fly.
most humane and perceptive inclusion is a
discourse on child abuse, which expresses
the problem in terms of a global history
of control enforced by violence.
wisdoms and fresh from the slab.