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The Red Hat cover
  • ISBN: 9780312186586
  • ISBN10: 0312186584

The Red Hat

by Bayley, John

  • List Price: $21.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publish date: 12/01/2003
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Gender confusion and sexual foreplay abound in this absurdist, tantalizing mystery -- the American fiction debut of one of our greatest literary critics

If Oscar Wilde were alive and writing in the late 1990s, The Red Hat, by renowned critic and novelist John Bayley, is precisely the kind of coyly erotic work of fiction he would have written.

The novel follows a young trio who journey to the Hague for a Vermeer exhibition, and unwittingly become enmeshed in an international terrorist plot. Told by a narrator whose gender is intentionally obscured, this delightful romp continues to twist and confound the reader who thinks he or she knows what will happen next.

Indeed, in the skilled hands of John Bayley, nothing is what it seems to be: masquerading as a noir mystery, the novel turns out to be a Moliere-like comedy of errors; a woman who is kidnapped turns out to be the wrong victim; and the elevator man in the charming pension becomes a voracious, insatiable lover who may in fact be a Mossad agent. A mischievious debut from one of the most esteemed men of 20th-century letters.

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