Thursday, November 15, 2007

Book Review: The Organ Grinders by Bill Fitzhugh

In this comic novel author Bill Fitzhugh tackles the subject of organ transplanting and genetic modification of organisms along with a splash of environmentalism in the same style as many other satirist authors. This, however, is a little different in that it not only has an interesting and surprising plot but it is truly thought-provoking in highlighting some valid moral dilemmas that originate from modern science.

The organ grinders is a story about a super-rich businessman, Landiss, who uses his wealth to stretch biotechnology to its limits in order to reverse a disabling illness that has afflicted him. He achieves some amazing results but not without going to shocking lengths to do so. The hero of this novel is an environmental activist that stumbles upon Landiss' project and determines to stop it. Environmental terrorism comes into play in this novel and this creates a black humour mocking the moral high ground taken by both parties in their efforts to achieve their goals.

This is a funny and intelligent story and I really enjoyed reading it. Fitzhugh's style is both witty and serious and here he has created a very readable novel with some laugh-out-loud moments. I was delighted to find, among the humour and enjoyable plot, some interesting quotes and references which I was able to follow up and include in my degree assignments outlining the fact that this is a serious book for all its comedy.

I recommend this to readers looking for something light-hearted and easy-to-read but not formulaic pulp fiction as well as those after something thought-provoking but not hard going. Funny and intelligent: a bizarre story!

Score: 8/10

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