DESIRABLE BODY, HUBERT HADDAD
French Publisher: ZULMA
US Publisher: Yale University Press
Translated by Alyson Waters
A medical mystery/fantasy/love story that delves deeply into the nature of consciousness while raising many of the ethical and existential issues facing scientists today
A contemporary Frankenstein that defies expectations, this is a thrilling novel, couched in luminous, captivating prose about a journalist, Cédric Allyn-Weberson, who suffers a horrific accident, paralyzing him from the neck down. An ideal candidate for a body transplant, Cédric survives the surgery but has both physical and existential trouble with his recovery and adaptation: encountering his lover with a new body, discovering the life history of his donor, and attempting to understand the mind-body relationship as he lives it.
Haddad explores the confusion and insignificance of a single consciousness before experience and identity: What is a head without a body? What or who is a lover with another’s body? The gruesome transplant (detailed in a manner that highlights the author’s own diligent research and comprehension) parallels other ways humanity mutates nature globally; the novel is a provocative and timely allegory—a work of dystopian fantasy.