Deftly blending the sacred and the profane, Tosches boldly casts himself as the protagonist in his latest novel, an outrageously ambitious book in which he procures a purloined version of the original manuscript of The Divine Comedy while tracing Dante's journey as Dante struggled to complete his penultimate work. The initial chapters find Tosches looking back and questioning the results of his fascinating life and career, with a brief but devastating aside about the decline of publishing. But Tosches suddenly emerges from his morbid nostalgia when a former character named Louie (a gangster from Tosches's Cut Numbers) gets his hands on a stolen copy of Dante's manuscript and asks Tosches to authenticate it. That sends the author on a whirlwind tour to Arizona, Chicago, Paris and then London as he tries to verify the work and then determine its worth on the open market. The subplot involving Dante's journey is flat and stale by comparison, despite some impeccable scholarship by Tosches as he chronicles the great poet's efforts and setbacks. Tosches's sense of the shock value of his story line doesn't waver, and there's never a dull moment as he opines about modern culture, the Mob, the Oprah Book Club, Zen editing and the joy of being edited, September 11, the artistic process and anything else that happens to hop into his head for a few pages. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but fans of the one-man literary show that is Nick Tosches will doubtless love this book. Overall, it remains incomplete as a novel because of Tosches's inability to bring Dante to life as a character, although the author's admiration for him as a creative force results in a number of compelling passages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dante's original manuscript for The Divine Comedy is the catalyst for Tosches's schizophrenic yet at times brilliant novel, synthesizing history and biography with contemporary murder and mayhem to create an exotic meal of a book, albeit one for strong stomachs. The book alternates between two different worlds: 14th-century Italy, where Dante Alighieri searches for the perfect inspiration to complete his masterwork, and 21st-century New York, where murderous thugs seek to profit from the recently unearthed manuscript, thought to be lost to the ages. Enter Tosches, a student of Dante's work and a go-between for the mob; his quest to authenticate the book takes a turn that his conspirators can't predict, and he has plans of his own for the tome. What makes the novel special is Tosches himself, who examines his own life, weary philosophy, and creative inspiration in his usual in-your-face style. In one fascinating aside, the author rants about monopolistic publishing houses, effectively biting the hand that feeds him. As with any Tosches book, a reader's willingness to embrace the dark side and all that it entails is essential. However, behind the grunge lies a fascinating study of the power of writing and the relative value applied to it. The fact that the cynical Tosches doesn't provide easy answers only adds more provocation. Highly recommended.
--Marc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The description of this book is not clear. I thought it was an historical mystery instead a vulgar series of events.Published 13 months ago by Elaine M. Egan
An intricate tale of Dante and a modern story of discovery, crime, and murder. Erudite and well researched on Dante's life and times.Published 13 months ago by Matthew M. Lampe
I hate this book as much as Dante loved Beatrice. And that is supposed to be compulsively.
First off--if you are not a scholar of Dante and do not read Latin, don't bother. Read more
I actually got this book at a $5-a-bag of books sale at my local library, and I think I paid too much. It may be the worst book I've ever read. Read morePublished on March 22, 2013 by MaryM
Not only was the poor use of English off-putting but the juvenile need to use foul language to shock. Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by S. Hill
I lasted about 100 pages into this collection of words - for I didn't see it as book. It starts with at least 3 or 4 parallel stories: one about an aging mafioso who keeps sayings... Read morePublished on November 24, 2010 by Min Jeong Lee
This was my first extended work by Tosches, though I had read him in Rolling Stone years ago.
My recent encounter with In the Hand of Dante quickly soured as I forged... Read more
This book is crazy. There is way too much usage of the "F" word; which if appropriate in establishing something w/in the book, I am fine with, but there did not seem to be a good... Read morePublished on March 26, 2010 by P. Feeney
While browsing at a local book fair, this book grabbed my attention because I love Dante and the Divine Comedy. Read morePublished on July 23, 2009 by Julie Merilatt