Several of the books I’ve read this summer were enjoyable, but they won’t earn a lasting place on the shelves. The Egyptologist from Arthur Phillips will. Layered with wonderful madness, The Egyptologist illuminates the reader without ever letting the characters in on the secret. The self-deception of the lead character is willful, horrific, and terribly, morbidly funny. Not an easy start, The Egyptologist accelerates throughout.
Published in 2004, The Egyptologist earned a spot on Stephen King’s top ten list for 2006, based on when he read it.
Pathological liar of dubious identity goes bonkers while looking for a hidden tomb in the Egyptian desert after World War I. Tragic, pathetic, blackly funny…and with a strange, growing undercurrent of horror. You have never read a novel like it.
He’s right, I haven’t. I can’t even imagine anything like it. Phillips has a few earlier novels I may explore.
Note: I’m a sucker for those who create their own myths in the sands of Egypt, like Giovanni Battista Belzoni, on whom I spent too much time in college. On page 47, we read: “The ex-circus performer Belzoni’s exploits with the British consul Henry Salt.”