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The Egyptologist: A Novelby Arthur Phillips
"I'd be surprised if you didn't have the central mystery of this caper figured out somewhere before the halfway point. But here's the thing: I'd also be surprised if this bothered you too much. After all, when is the last time somebody made the effort to spin you a tale? When is the last time somebody wrote you a letter? When is the last time you encountered a contemporary writer with Phillips's far-reaching interests and easy facility with far-away places, far-away times?" Benjamin Alsup, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of Prague comes a witty, inventive, brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the desert plains of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of the First World War, and a royal court in turmoil.
Just as Howard Carter unveils the tomb of Tutankhamun, making the most dazzling find in the history of archaeology, Oxford-educated Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush is digging himself into trouble, having staked his professional reputation and his fiancée’s fortune on a scrap of hieroglyphic pornography. Meanwhile, a relentless Australian detective sets off on the case of his career, spanning the globe in search of a murderer. And another murderer. And possibly another murderer. The confluence of these seemingly separate stories results in an explosive ending, at once inevitable and utterly unpredictable.
Arthur Phillips leads this expedition to its unforgettable climax with all the wit and narrative bravado that made Prague one of the most critically acclaimed novels of 2002. Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition, and the very human hunger for eternal life, this staggering second novel gives us a glimpse of Phillips’s range and maturity — and is sure to earn him further acclaim as one of the most exciting authors of his generation.
"How was Phillips to follow up a debut as startlingly brilliant as Prague? By doing something completely different. His story, set mostly in Egypt in the early 1920s, stars Ralph Trilipush, an obsessive Egyptologist. Trilipush is more than a little odd. He is pinning his hopes on purported king Atum-hadu, whose erotic verses he has discovered and translated; now he must locate his tomb and its expected riches. Meanwhile, an Australian detective, for reasons too complicated to go into, is seeking to unmask Trilipush, who may have had some relationship with a young Australian Egyptologist who died mysteriously. Trilipush and the detective are two quite unreliable narrators, and the effect is that of a hall of mirrors. Where does fact end and imagination, illusion and wishful thinking begin? Phillips is a master manipulator, able to assume a dozen convincingly different voices at will, and his book is vastly entertaining. It's apparent that something dire is afoot, but the reader, while apprehensive, can never quite figure out what. The ending, which cannot be revealed, is shocking and cleverly contrived." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The dueling voices of a nostalgic detective and the monomaniacal archaeologist he pursues around the world are only part of the treasure contained in The Egyptologist. Crafted with nuanced erudition and literary flair, Phillips uncovers the hieroglyphs (not hieroglyphics — but you'll learn that) and building blocks beneath how we construct, interpret, and trust our storytellers. Highly textured, quirky, serpentine, surprising." Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
"Highly recommended for everyone in search of buried treasure." Library Journal
"A wildly pleasurable, dazzling reading experience, big in heart and execution: crazed, ecstatic, and entertaining in the deepest sense of the word. Arthur Phillips is a terrifically talented writer, and these pages overflow with wit, mad humor, and, finally, a deep undercurrent of pathos." George Saunders, author of Pastoralia and Civil War Land in Bad Decline
"What a splendid, funny, bewitching book....Beneath Arthur Phillips's singular wit and peerless comic timing, lies a spot-on parable of twentieth-century self-delusion and the painfully fruitless quest for immortality." Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook
Obsessed Oxford-educated Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush risks his professional reputation and his fiance's fortune on a search for the tomb of an apocryphal pharaoh, while an Australian detective embarks on a global search for a murderer, two quests that culminate in an explosive confrontation. By the author of Prague. 75,000 first printing.
I 1920erne leder den kendte egyptolog Ralph M Trilipush efter den legendariske Atumhadus grav, p sidelinien er hans Bostonk
About the Author
Arthur Phillips’s first novel, Prague, was a national bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, recipient of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and has been translated into seven languages. Phillips lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
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