MIRROR MIRROR by Harriet Waugh


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What's in a face? In Godfrey Pettlement's case, it's his fortune -- and with a nasty, ugly, evil-looking mug like his, very bad luck indeed follows him for the first half of his days. After learning that the foetus survived the abortion, his mother dies in short order; his roommate at Oxford goes barmy under the delusion that he's being persecuted by Dracula; his dipsomaniacal father falls over the bannister in despair when Godfrey's boat to Australia sails without him. Finally the universally despised monster acquires a sick patron who collects freaks to achieve ""total altruism without pain,"" who after his suicide by starvation bequeaths to his ""Caliban"" the means to plastic surgery and, under the guise of a saintlike noble beauty that attracts a considerable flock of guilt-ridden hallelujahsayers, the means to total revenge. Waugh's dry but wacky British humor turns grislier and grislier until her succession of ironic absurd deaths and mental disturbances climaxes with Godfrey's sensational nco-biblical decapitation. A less subtle social satirist than her father Evelyn, her tale of victim and victimized turns loving-goodness and the appearance thereof on its head and along the way slaughters more than one of the particularly grave and self-serious sacred cows of the Anglo-Saxon tribe. Bloody funny.

Pub Date: March 11th, 1975
Publisher: Little, Brown