"A triumph... An alarmingly funny book... Wilson's virtuoso tendencies are skilfully controlled." Sunday Times
"We are reminded of such disparates as Swift, Beckett and Flann O'Brien as this elegant, wacky prose reports the vagaries of life... A compact and funny fable." Times Literary Supplement
"On the creamy skin of these pristine pages, I lay my flat black slug of a secret to trail its mucused path.
Passing through nature, I once ate a man..."
It is 1891 and modern times require modern remedies. Count Friedryk Baa Mindeberg hobbles through middle age on the crutch of reason. No other Scandinavian biologist has as firm a grasp on toads or Africa as he. No other biologist has taken such extreme excursions with flesh.
Baa is the most scrupulous of scientists. He selected his wife after long and fastidious ethnographic research into the tribe of women. His home is an inventor's paradise, replete with a mechanical marital bed, hydraulic pillows and electric water-closet. Yet beneath the crust of domestic logic, reason begins to crumble.
It doesn't help that Baa is working his way alphabetically through the Pharmacopeia, dosing himself with every drug en route.