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Old 6th Nov 2007, 15:51   #101
amner
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

Indeed!
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Old 6th Nov 2007, 16:29   #102
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

Fantastic review, amner!
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Old 6th Nov 2007, 18:29   #103
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

Ditto Amner. Never thought of the whole "male member" analogy, but after reading your review, how could I have missed it?
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Old 6th Nov 2007, 23:33   #104
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

Quote:
Originally Posted by amner View Post
McGrath is using Haggard as a symbol for that moment in a lot of men's lives when they act in the way that he acts throughout the book (the moody looks to sea and the suspicions about all the people that surround him suggest a mind temporarily given over to seige mentality, and Elgin plays the role of fortress brilliantly). A lot of blokes act within that area of selfishness, but fortunately not all, and when they do, not for long.
Without looking back to what I wrote, I think I may have called him "self-obsessed"?

Edit: Nope, I've looked now, post 33, the word I used was "egocentric". It was quickly pointed out to me that morphine had a lot to do with his, shall we say, self-awareness. Interestingly, morphine does not figure in your analysis either.
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Old 7th Nov 2007, 2:44   #105
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

This makes perfect sense.
Quote:
He's in it for and by himself.
Yes.
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Old 6th Dec 2007, 11:38   #106
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

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Originally Posted by John Self View Post
Why did I never think of that? Too innocent, probably. And where was the elegant masturbation euphemism then...?
Sorry, late with this.

Anyhoo, after James leaves and - as we know - Haggard is struck by the way he brings Fanny so vividly to mind, he writes:
Quote:
I went back upstairs to my study and spent several hours quietly indulging the memories aroused by the evening's conversation.
Aye aye!
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Old 19th May 2008, 20:28   #107
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

I hope it's okay me asking this question a little late on in the game...

I read this story last summer so it's not fresh on the brain, but I remember thinking that it was amongst his best work. It my fourth McGrath book after Spider, Asylum and his short story collection Blood and Water and Other Tales (if that counts). I've since read The Grotesque and Tales of Manhattan; Then and Now, and his entry in The New Gothic Anthology called The Smell; all of which I enjoyed immensely (although The Smell needs to be re-read). I gave it to a friend at the end of last year so I haven't got it to reference, but I seem to remember that the ending really captured my imagination. Maybe I've got this part wrong but... [SPOILER] did anyone else come away with the impression that Doctor Haggard must have told the whole story like a flash of thought which had ran through his mind in the space of, say, thirty seconds? I only ask because, as I remember it, he's holding James and telling him this story as the two are consumed by flames. Surely if this was really happening then he wouldn't be able to cram in such a detailed account as the one we're presented with? Unless Doctor Haggard didn't actually die and I just interpretted it that he did?![SPOILER OVER]

I'm beginning to think that I've probably got this detail wrong. I will now have to get myself another copy and re-read it!

Any thoughts on this are much appreciated
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Old 19th May 2008, 20:30   #108
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

No, I don't think you've got it wrong, Jed. There's some debate about it back in the thread (mid 20s posts), actually, but a lot of contributors thought the same thing.
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Old 19th May 2008, 20:51   #109
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

And, for your information. If you put your text between [HIDE] [/HIDE] tags, then you can have spoilers like this:

The butler did it.
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Old 19th May 2008, 21:34   #110
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Default Re: Book 34: DR HAGGARD'S DISEASE by Patrick McGrath

...But at the same time, huge blocks of black can look a bit ugly.

Anyway on Book Group threads I think we can have spoilers as we presume anyone reading this has read the book.

Yes Jed, I agree entirely with your interpretation. The very first paragraph on page one ends with "but oh dear boy not pain like yours, just wait now and we'll make it all - go - away -" as he injects James with the morphine which will kill him. He refers shortly afterward to being "here, now, in the light of a burning Spitfire." So there's no doubt about it whatever in my mind.

This does leave the implausibility you've raised. I personally don't worry about it, though you could if you like interpret the book as the whole mass of thoughts and memories which race and rage through Haggard's head in those few minutes. The written form is the thoughts unpicked and reordered for our pleasure.

Otherwise, suspend your disbelief and enjoy.

Oh, and you'll love Port Mungo and his new novel Trauma. But probably not Martha Peake.
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