Friday, 3 February 2012

Mutants by Armand Marie Leroi

Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2004

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This is a book about Siamese twins, people with extra digits, cyclops, dwarves, hermaphrodites, giants, and a pig with two faces. It was accompanied by a Channel 4 documentary when first published. Already you might have formed some impression of this book, but you might be surprised to learn it is a sensitive book that doesn’t treat its subject matter like carnival freaks—though many of the characters in the book were in carnivals. Instead, the book deals with dignity with its themes to show how important mutations are for all of us. In Leroi’s words, “We are all mutants. But some of us are more mutant than others.” In fact, you probably have about 100 mutations that were not given to you by your parents. But which ones did you get?