Thursday, September 9, 2010

Francis Xavier Enderby

During the short intermission that they have at the wonderful storytelling night, Milk & Cookies, I took the opportunity to read from, ‘The Complete Enderby’. A tome containing all four novels written by Anthony Burgess about the poet, Francis Xavier Enderby. Whilst reading, I was asked,
‘That’s the same guy who wrote Clockwork Orange isn’t it?’ I replied in the affirmative and was then asked, ‘Is it similar to Clockwork Orange?’ To which I could reply in the negative as it isn’t. I am then glad that he did not ask me what it is comparable to as I’m not so sure… The books are certainly like nothing I’ve ever read before.

Gifted Poet, Francis Xavier Enderby, has questionable gastronomic and hygiene habits. His grotesque stepmother ruined both his Libido and his Catholicism for him. Now all he wants to do is live a solitary existence which allows him to collect money from investments and to write his poems whilst on his toilet, especially the masterpiece he is currently working on. Unfortunately there are many obstacles preventing him from living the life he wants, including: A friend asking him to write love poems to a barmaid, awards to accept, jealous husbands, the plagiarising of his work, being wrongfully accused of murder and many others but most especially the women… You see despite being a bit grotesque and due to him being such a gifted wordsmith Enderby is, if not irresistible at least, very popular with the opposite sex. Although there is normally strings attached with these liaisons, such as: Marriage and conformity to society, higher marks at college or just a fulfilment of lust that Enderby is unable to fulfil. Also, you can’t help feeling sorry for Enderby as it appears nobody is on his side, he truly is a man alone who just wishes for his muse never to leave him and to be left alone with this muse and write beautiful things.

All this adds up to four very funny books with wonderful linguistic fun that showcases a poet so out of step with the world and even the world of art. I would certainly recommend these books to any adult…

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