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Dr Ragab's universal language
Twigger, Robert
Adult Fiction TWIGGER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In the beginning of this frustratingly vague novel by the author of Angry White Pajamas, a British narrator obsessed with bunkers is hired to write a history of a German aluminum company and is given a manuscript written by Martin Hertwig, the son of the company's founder. In it, Hertwig claims to have been imprisoned in a bunker by former prisoners of the Reich at the end of WWII; to survive, he recalls the lessons of his mentor, Dr. Ragab, creator of "The Universal Language." The story then flashes back to Cairo after WWI, where Hertwig, a recovering veteran wounded on the Western Front, falls under the enigmatic Ragab's spell and discovers the benefits of the universal language, such as the ability to become invisible. Hertwig's narrative is punctuated by the narrator's asides as he reads the manuscript, and details of his more humdrum life in Ealing, which includes battling his rival for the girl of his dreams. In the end, he travels to Cairo to find out how much of Hertwig's story is true. The Hertwig-Ragab relationship is reminiscent of the Daniel-Mr. Miyagi dynamic from The Karate Kid and grows tedious. And although individual sections of the book are fascinating, the stories-within-stories structure doesn't cohere in a way that makes the journey from Ealing to Germany to Cairo entirely worthwhile. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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