A novel by Hubert Haddad, originally published in French in 2015, translated by Alyson Waters and published in English in 2018. I read a first edition Yale University Press paperback from the library.
1.5 out of 5 stars.
Times Read: 1
The recipient of the first successful head (body?) transplant grapples with identity and the meaning of self and soul.
I haven’t been this frustrated while reading since Infinite Jest, another book where an interesting plot was bogged down by unnecessarily challenging word choices and unneeded references. Desirable Body squanders a fantastic premise.
The characters are hollow, their relationships hardly explained or explored. Cedric, the consciousness remaining after the head/body transplant, is estranged from his wealthy father. Even after his father pays for his treatment and recovery, Cedric never speaks to his father during the novel; they are never in the same room. The most important scenes are skipped and summarized after the fact. Scenes I expected simply never came. All of the action – except the transplant itself – happens off-screen.
It’s probably odd to give a two-part review for such a short, poorly rated book, but Haddad packs Desirable Body with references and dialogue in different languages (mostly Italian) that I needed to look up.