The Anatomist

by Federico Andahazi | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0385491328 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAzukiwing of Miami, Florida USA on 6/1/2009
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Monday, June 01, 2009 Review

It is no accident that Federico Andahazi draws a parallel between his Renaissance hero, the anatomist Mateo Colombo, and the explorer Christopher Columbus. It is the conceit of his first novel, The Anatomist (beautifully translated from the Spanish by Alberto Manguel), that both Colombos made "equally momentous and disturbing" discoveries. Every schoolchild can tell you what Columbus's was; less well known, perhaps, is that of his countryman and fellow "explorer." "Mateo's America is less distant and infinitely smaller than Christopher's; in fact, it's not much larger than the head of a nail." In short, Mateo Renaldo Colombo discovered the Amor Veneris, the clitoris.

The Anatomist is based on a historical figure and historical fact; what Andahazi provides is his title character's heart and soul. The fictional Colombo is driven by desire for the high-priced courtesan Mona Sofia. After breaking both his heart and his bank account over her, Colombo returns to his native Padua whence he is eventually called to Florence to treat a saintly young widow, Inés de Torremolinos. While examining her, he discovers "between his patient's legs a perfectly formed, erect and diminutive penis." Land ho.

Though Colombo's "discovery," first in Inés and then in other women, offers plenty of opportunity for eroticism, the most compelling aspect of The Anatomist lies in the Church's reaction to De re anatomica, the book Colombo writes detailing his find. Colombo's unfolding of "the key to the heart of all women ... the anatomical cause of love" soon lands him in prison on charges of heresy and Satanism. The trial, Mateo's defense, and the surprising aftermath make for provocative reading and raise The Anatomist above the level of the merely erotic to a more intriguing philosophical plane, one that is sure to prompt a lively discussion or two. --Alix Wilber

Journal Entry 2 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Saturday, November 28, 2009
It's quite a bizarre story, almost mythical and fairy-tale like in some way, though ocassionally woven with some historical fact. While the anatomist's plea was overly long and dry, overall the story was a captivating read that kept me turning page after page.

This will be sent to HoserLauren who got it in a swap. We decide the bride may benefit from this anatomical education.

Journal Entry 3 by Macaufan from Miami, Florida USA on Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I saw Azuki reading this and when I read a few pages I was captivated by this unusual story, so I wanted to read it before she sends it on. It is a very interesting story, good to the ending, and a quick read to boot.

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Monday, January 18, 2010
Received today from Azuki with many thanks. Perhaps I should read this before the wedding to get an education? lol

Thanks Azuki!

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren at Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, July 19, 2019
Mateo Columbo is credited with discovering the clitoris, which of course the Church doesn't like so they put him on trial for a variety of things. About half the book is the story of how Columbo came upon this discovery and the women that he worked with. While explicit, this was fairly interesting. The other half of the book was about Columbo's trial and was a complete snooze-fest. Seventeen mini chapters where Columbo describes why this discovery is not a bad thing. Sixteen of those Seventeen chapters all repeat each other. With half the book being a waste of time, it's definitely not something I would recommend.

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