Home > 2000, 21st Century, Abandoned books, American Literature, Evenson Brian, Novel, TBR20 > The Brotherhood of Mutilation by Brian Evenson

The Brotherhood of Mutilation by Brian Evenson

The Brotherhood of Mutilation by Brian Evenson. (2006) French title: La confrérie des mutilés. Translated by Françoise Smith.

Evenson_confrérieI have a lot of billets to catch up with, so I’ll be very quick with The Brotherhood of Mutilation by Brian Evenson because I couldn’t finish it. It sounded promising, really. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. Kline is a PI who lost his hand in a mission that didn’t end well. He’s hired by a secret society to investigate a murder in their community. This brotherhood is only composed of mutilated men. The more mutilated you are, the higher you climb in the hierarchy. And brothers only have access to brothers who are on the same level of mutilation –which is in contradiction with the term of brother, according to me, but I’m not the writer here.

Since access to information requires a certain rank in the secret society, how far will Kline go to investigate this murder? Will he accept additional mutilations?

The blurb was soft and theoretical. The book is not. I cringed when I read how Kline lost his hand but I’ve read worse. However, I couldn’t stomach the brotherhood. I recoiled from the concept of mutilating yourself voluntarily. I couldn’t read more about these people who are in awe of men who cut toes or fingers to score points. I couldn’t read more discussions about whether cutting a toe counted as one mutilation point or if toes should be counted as a whole to get a point. I disliked mutilation parties to celebrate someone’s new mutilation.

Really, I couldn’t go further with this, despite Télérama’s glowing review. It’s too gore for me.

So, if anyone’s read this one till the end, I’m interested in their opinion on this er…unusual novel.

  1. June 12, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I know I wouldn’t like this one either. I hadn’t heard of it before. What nationality is the author?


    • June 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      He’s American.


      • June 13, 2016 at 6:18 am

        Never heard the name before.


        • June 13, 2016 at 8:35 pm

          I can’t say it’s a big hole in your literary culture.
          His style is rather good, it was just too graphic for me.


  2. June 16, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Amputee fetishism is a real thing apparently, so perhaps that’s in part what the author wanted to explore. I’m glad the style is good, but the subject doesn’t appeal.

    It sounds the sort of thing that might be a cult novel in years to come.


    • June 18, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Amputee fetishism? ew. While I would have handled a book about a group of amputees who had an accident or an illness, I couldn’t read about people who voluntarily cut something off themselvses. (unless it has a purpose like in Machine Man by Max Barry)
      It’s been published in 2003. We’ll see if it becomes a cult novel. (Maybe it is already if you take “cult” literally?)


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