With My Dog-eyes : A Novel

Hilst, Hilda


A short, stunning book by a Brazilian master of the avant-garde. Something has changed in Amos Keres, a university mathematics professor--his sentences trail off in class, he is disgusted by the sight of his wife and son, and he longs to flee the comfortable bourgeois life he finds himself a part of. Most difficult of all are his struggles to express what has happened to him, for a man more accustomed to numbers than words. He calls it "the clearcut unhoped-for," and it's a vision that will drive him to madness and, eventually, death. Written in a fragmented style that echoes the character's increasingly fragile hold on reality, "With My Dog-Eyes" is intensely vivid, summoning up Amos's childhood and young adulthood--when, like Richard Feynman, he used to bring his math books to brothels to study--and his life at the university, with its "meetings, asskissers, pointless rivalries, gratuitous resentments, jealous talk, meglomanias." Hilst, whose father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, has created a lacerating, and yet oddly hopeful, portrayal of a descent into hell--Amos never makes sense of the new way he sees things, but he does find an avenue of escape, retreating to his mother's house and, farther, towards the animal world. A deeply metaphysical, formally radical one-of-a-kind book from a great Brazilian writer.

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