- W.H. Auden, A Certain World
I’ve told you often that, for me at least, Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine is one of the internet’s great pleasures. What should I expect, I wondered, from a novel by Dr. Boli? The result, not really surprisingly, is… a very odd reading experience. Amusing, enigmatic, possibly profound, and even – sometimes – moving, The Crimes of Galahad is a book like no other you will read this year. I’m pretty sure I can say that without fear of contradiction.
The Crimes of Galahad purports to be the memoirs of Galahad Newman Bousted, “the wickedest man in the world.” This is his own account of the misdeeds which brought him to conspicuous wealth and social prominence without anyone, even his wife or his most intimate friends, suspecting his evil machinations.
Galahad Bousted starts out as the son of a humble stationer in 19th Century Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Frustrated in his desire to motivate his father to agree to his plans for expanding the business, he falls under the influence of a French book (not actually the book itself, but a magazine review of it) which convinces him that the only way to achieve success is to devote himself to ruthless evil. In pursuit of this goal, he works long hours, finds ways to please his customers, and makes himself agreeable, even to people he doesn’t like much.
I’m tempted to describe The Crimes of Galahad as a parody, but it’s a parody of a very subtle kind. If I were to try to explain the joke to you, I’d not only spoil it, I’m not sure I’d truly convey the point (I’m not even sure I really figured it out). In a way, the best comment on this book might be to simply read Luke 16:1-9.
This is a book that will be appreciated by extremely intelligent readers (it will help if they’re smarter than me). That recommendation might be bad for sales, I fear, but nevertheless I recommend The Crimes of Galahad.