THE GUILTY HEAD by Romain Gary


Email this review


A millimeter less of metaphysical happenings and appearances, more explicit political, social and artistic satirical amusements, and many more playful amatory romps than in its predecessor, The Dance of Genghis Cohn (1968). This time the ""only free soul"" in the world, although still named Cohn and still, as far as repressive hierarchies are concerned, hind-end uppermost, has his own troubles in seeking out the pure life. Certainly Tahiti. Eden home of Gauguin, whose stigmata Cohn earnestly hopes to assume, would seem ideal. Cohn enthusiastically observes the reconstructions of Bizien, ""The Napoleon of Tourism,"" who stages peak moments for the excursion boats--from a lively ""Adam and Eve"" through the ""Passion of Jesus,"" to ""The Death of Captain Cook."" The wastrel Cohn happily exploits the burgeoning guilts of tourists (Americans particularly). He is also pursued by agents of the major powers who think he's a French nuclear scientist (an identity he's quite ready to assume at the last) and he gambols through Gauguin's masterpieces with Meeva--beautiful, bare and submissive. But Meeva turns out to be a university drop-out also bucking for Atlantis. One view of neon shores, bomb testing sites, and the human ant hill--and the two set out for an island ""not on the map."" A massive cerebral joke--cool, clever and go-go-Gauguin.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1969
Publisher: World/NAL