Thursday, July 20, 2017

7/20/1924 Who is Thomas Berger?

July 20, 1924.  Thomas Berger was born on this day in Cincinnati.  He was the author of many eccentric novels, most of which explored a different genre (although he said his subject was always the language, not the plot).

His western was Little Big Man, source for the Dustin Hoffman movie.  Several other movies based on his work followed.

Berger's Regiment of Women appears to be a science fiction attack on the feminist movement, but deeper down there is an exploration of sexist language.  If a successful man has a young mistress, what does a successful woman have?  A master?

In 1977 Who is Teddy Villanova? arrived.  It begins with private eye Russel Wren being beaten up because of the titular Villanova, whom he has never heard of.  Then a bunch of corpses start showing up everywhere.  Well, technically, the same corpse keeps showing up.  And the cops, all named for Protestant theologians, are filming a TV series called The Reformers.

A decade later Russel Wren returns for a case that takes him to a strange and distant land.  Nowhere is Berger's version of a utopian novel.  One memorable scene involves a coroner explaining that in this land the cause of death is always listed as heart failure.  Hey, shoot someone or cut off their head and their heart will stop. 

No comments:

Post a Comment