Monday, 16 June 2014
Author: Raymond Hitchcock
Year of publication: 1969, Sphere edition 1971.
Back cover blurb: '"The first transplant of a human male genital organ took place at the Royal Bowchester Hospital, this afternoon. The condition of the recipient, a 33 year old married man, is completely satisfactory..."
...Except for the fact that James Anthony Hislop had a burning urge to identify the previous owner of his new equipment, nicknamed Percy. Armed with a list of possible donors, he set out to track down their wives and girl friends....
....To see if they would recognise Percy
....Or if Percy would recognise them.'
Reading reveals: This sex farce about the world's first penis transplant by Syd Barrett-substitute Robyn Hitchcock's dad was made into an apparently dreadful film with a rather good soundtrack by the Kinks. Indeed, the title of the main theme, 'God's Children' can be sourced back to a sentence in the novel.
The book itself pulls in two directions, one interesting, the other less so. The protagonist's efforts to hang on to his wife as his pious best friend tries to destroy their marriage through moral objections to the operation is a somewhat Pinter-esque power struggle. Much of the story, however, is taken up with his efforts to identify his new member's former owner, which pretty much involves trying to have sex with various dead people's widows. It's all a bit too Robin Askwith to be bothering with now. Still, a quirky, relatively worthwhile novel.
Random paragraph: 'They just don't understand. Only a year or two ago, he could stand in the shower in the changing rooms and be the envy of both teams.'