A NovelBook - 2011
From the "effervescent" ( Washington Post ) author of Madness is Better than Defeat and The Teleportation Accident, a rollicking novel about fascism, boxing, entomology, eugenics, and desire.
Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason: he has a rare genetic condition that makes him smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history. First, there's Philip Erskine, a fascist gentleman entomologist who dreams of breeding an indomitable beetle as tribute to Reich Chancellor Hitler's glory, all the while aspiring to arguably more sinister projects in human eugenics. And then there's Seth "Sinner" Roach, a homosexual Jewish boxer, nine-toed, runtish, brutish--but perfect in his way--who becomes an object of obsession for Erskine, professionally and most decidedly otherwise. What became of the boxer? What became of the beetle? And what will become of anyone who dares to unearth the answers?
Ned Beauman spins out a dazzling narrative across decades and continents, weaving his manic fiction through the back alleys of history. Boxer, Beetle is a remarkably assured, wildly enjoyable debut.