LITTLE TOURS OF HELL: Tall Tales of Food and Holidays by Josephine Saxton

LITTLE TOURS OF HELL: Tall Tales of Food and Holidays

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These grim, sometimes witty stories loosely share the themes of disastrous vacations and disgusting food--camping trips and dinner parties turn into Kafkaesque nightmares; human functions are made to seem vile. Rotting food, maggots, sweaty armpits, snot, flab, vomit, excrement, and enormous, malevolent insects are the motifs that bind this blackly comic collection. Set in a campsite in Marrakech, one story is an attentuated conceit on filthy Arab toilets: ""Slimy floors swimming with unknown germs with hind legs like kangaroos all ready to leap up into her crotch."" Xenophobia, hygiene, and unappetizing cuisine are the standbys that pursue these unlucky provincial English characters, who are dogged by diseased foods, by ""twenty-foot worms emerging from the cysts she had watched a butcher excising from lamb's liver."" Weak stabs at surprise endings include one tale in which a hitchhiker is held captive by a cannibal, who plans to sell his savory ""meat pies"" to Harrod's; and one in which an acrophobic on holiday with a sadistic prostitute overcomes his neurosis through murder. Some outdated feminist overtones accompany those several stories about seaside vacations in which women are invariably attached to frigid men and cruel children. Rewarding only for those who have an obsession with scatological detail and banal domestic situations.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Pandora/Routledge & Kegan Paul