The

Mick

Sinclair

Archive

F. Gonzalez-Crussi

June

1986

NME

book review

 
 
NOTES OF AN ANATOMIST

F. Gonzalez-Crussi

WHAT DO 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"?

Perhaps 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 common niceties.

This 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.

The 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.

But the 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.

Essential wisdoms – and fresh from the slab.

 

mick sinclair

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