The life of a parasite

Head to Toe – Joe Orton
Minerva Publishing 1990, 192 pages

I have read some pretty bizarre books in my time but Orton’s effort really takes top place. I have long been a fan of Orton’s works having read and seen his plays. I have even read his journals which I thought were fascinating.
In Head to Toe, Orton has us follow Gombold who travels around a rather large creature. Gombold meets up with an array of characters and situations from an assassination, to the war between buttocks and being in prison.
There is no easy way to classify this novel or what it is all about. It is quite difficult to review because when you finish it really is what the f*ck have I just read. The story and concepts are completely out there and you find yourself caught in a world that makes no sense at all. Yet the novel is compelling to read, easy to lose yourself in and for some explicit reason you want to know what happens to Gombold.
The one thing that I am sure of that is that Orton has lampooned people known to him and historical characters in this book. I am sure of that because the characters are all depicted as parasites on a host body.  Orton really does poke fun and is quite cruel in his depictions of some of the characters.  
The writing is concise and the descriptions are really wonderful. Orton’s imagination is running at full speed and you are carried into realms that come across as plausible.
I really enjoyed the novel and its many layers of puzzles. If you are looking forward to a novel with a standard beginning, middle and end then this will fail you dismally. If you are willing to take a chance, suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride, this will not disappoint.

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