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Joe's Liver
by Paul Di Filippo

Subject: Speculative Fiction / Contemporary Literature
Publisher: Cambrian Publications (USA)

Edition Our Price inc. p&p Status
signed first edition hardback, 1 of 300 copies, 313pp, ISBN 1878914111, 2000 UK: £25.00
Europe: £32.95
USA: £36.40
Elsewhere: £37.25
in stock (out of print with publisher)

Joe's Liver cover

    A collectors' edition hardcover signed, numbered and limited to 300 copies, with full-color dustjacket and cloth ribbon bookmark.
    Designed to match Paul Di Filippo's previous novel, Ciphers.

To those benighted and unfortunate souls misfavored by whimsical Fate to the degree that they were born outside the status-conferring territorial confines of the uniquely glorious United States of America, one and only one Yankee monument shines forth as the paramount symbolic beacon of sheer American wonderfulness, of capitalistic exuberance, of cheeky wit, of bold principles manfully defended, of tearfully uplifting anecdotage, of increased word power. The name of this sterling inspirational institution, that veritable Diogenes of pulp?

Reader's Digest, of course!

At least, so does the world's favorite periodical of condensed reportage appear to the eyes of one particular earnest Caribbean youth. A plucky orphan tagged with the name of his inspirational reading material, the lad called Reader's Digest (later denominated "Ardy" for brevity's sake) fastens upon the big-hearted mission of a pilgrimage to the Pleasantville, NY, Digest HQ, there to thank in person the men and women who have so fortified his soul. A simple enough journey, one would reckon, its accomplishment blessed by noble intentions. And yet, as Life frequently demonstrates, unforeseen events have a way of interfering with even the most high-minded pursuits.

Ardy fails to reckon first with the intolerant minions of the US Immigration Service, in the irate persons of Messrs Johnson and Johnson. Separated from his foul-mouthed Virgil, Mister Enrico, our fleet-footed lad is soon swept up in the chaotic affairs of those with less charitable ambitions:

  • Doctor Spencer, militantly right-wing veterinarian;
  • Roseanna Mountjoy, nymphomaniac member of the monied classes;
  • Roger Mountjoy, banker turned reluctant Black Hand thug;
  • Roseanna's and Roger's son, Roy, a Generation-X Savonarola;
  • Father Jim, a regular Che Guevara in clerical garb;
  • Not to mention various charming lady loves and pugilistically inclined ruffians.

Does Ardy ever reach his personal Mecca?

Does the antique story of age and cunning triumphing over youth and innocence reach its foredestined conclusion one more sad time?

Can a 75,000-word novel really be satisifactorily distilled into a few paragraphs, as a certain publication maintains?

Only the perusal of Joe's Liver will answer these burning questions, as well as many you never would have thought it seemly to ask.