I knew that I liked what Melville House Publishing was doing. They publish David Graeber’s awesome books like The Utopia of Rules and manfully decided to publish (dropping everything else) the Senate Report on Torture. So when Melville House was having a sale, I took a chance on this book.
I was not disappointed. Even though this is the third book in a trilogy (comprising Spurious and Dogma), it stands alone quite well. Iyer is probably my best and favourite author discovery I’ve ever made. I keep smiling little smiles to myself and patting myself on the back. This is distinctly British humour; it’s as dry as dry can be. One needs a massive background in “continental philosophy” as well as a finely tuned ear for irony to appreciate this book. It’s absolutely brilliant.
It’s hardly worth describing the plot. It’s essentially two English philosophy professors who are facing unemployment traveling the UK giving lectures on philosophy and the death of philosophy departments across England. It’s not really about that though. Basically it takes the form of short exchanges between the two professors; or rather the written notes almost of their exchanges. It’s hard to describe, but the wit reminds my of Robert Byron’s books, like The Road to Oxiana.
This is the only book that I have read that reminds me of my actual thoughts and experiences and fears during my own postgraduate study.
This book is self-deprecating, but also spot on; it carries a real message. It’s incredibly erudite.
Amazingly awesome, but only for the right kind person. Probably need a degree in philosophy of some kind to appreciate this.