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This fabulously titled book, The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones, is the story of haunted man. Tristan Hart is haunted by almost everything he comes into contact with. His childhood friend Nathaniel who as a child ate live Blue Tits and took Tristan on adventures for which they ended up in trouble. Then Nathaniel disappears from Tristan's life, he imagines kidnapped or willingly left with gypsies.

 

He is haunted by his father - who though not actually dead has a ghost-like appearance in Tristan's life; an observer, an interrupter, a closed book.

 

He is haunted by a childhood boogeyman tale - Raw Head and Bloody Bones - whom threaten to overtake Tristan's delicate mental balance. Threaten then overtake.

 

While this is all going on, Tristan becomes obsessed by the notion of pain and its origins. He is a brilliant, gifted genius and enrols at medical school where his genius is recognised and celebrated. He explores cadavers for signs of pain, he explores sexual pain through the use of prostitutes and he experiences pain himself.

 

Tristan is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. He is dreamlike, manic, insane, rational, irrational and brilliant all at once. You never quite feel that you are reading the real moments of Tristan's life then you go off on a dreamlike stream of consciousness.

 

All this sounds like you may not enjoy this book, but you will. You will feel sorry for Tristan and the mysteries that surround so much of his life will be endlessly fascinating. Not everything will be settled for you but it's ok. The journey is well worth the craziness.

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