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Lifestyle/Community

‘Trombone Man’ carries a satirical (but timely) dark message

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JASMIN ALBERT, ALGEMEINER

Based on some actual events, The Trombone Man takes aim at populism, political correctness and hypocritical expediency. Near the beginning, the book suggests the theme of dishonesty, by mentioning master art fraudster Hans van Meegeren, who duped enthusiastic art lovers and experts.

This sets the tone for Hutter’s narrative, whereby outrageous and deceitful values are embraced by an adoring mindless public.

The Arab-Israeli cousin of an anti-Zionist Knesset member declares allegiance to the Jewish state at the Western Wall. She releases a video of herself standing at the Western Wall in full Islamic garb…

In other words, be ready for a racy ride through a world that is simply upside-down.

The story involves trombone-loving, anti-hero Dr Peter Kraus, a behavioural scientist, known for his quirky, innovative ideas, who is also charming, courteous and erudite. While women adore him, most of his dates end in disaster, especially with his on-and-off girlfriend, Bev.

Following a particularly bad date, Peter consults his psychoanalyst, Dr Maxine Feinschmecker, who reveals that despite Peter’s being a romantic, considerate and sensuous lover, he is a misogynist.

Stunned, yet never one to give up, Peter forms a “misogyny movement”, publicly presented as a “new addition to the multicultural landscape”. To his astonishment, the movement spreads like wildfire all over the world.

Peter becomes an international celebrity. He embarks on an anything-goes venture in a world that seems entirely inside out.

Dr Feinschmecker, Bev, Palestinian refugee Marwan, artists, politicians eyeing opinion polls and others, all hop on the bandwagon. Concerts, plays and other cultural events celebrate this “new addition to multiculturalism”.

Peter’s ventures are not all smooth sailing, however. Indeed, after a hilarious European tour with Bev, promoting misogyny, Peter confronts the quiet and unassuming Dr Sue Goldberg, a feminist, at a public university debate during “Anti-feminism Week”, an event clearly reminiscent of “Israel Apartheid Week” on campuses.

With Dr Goldberg, the charismatic Peter more than meets his match. The debate is gripping, illustrating with a sarcastic lens both mindless enthusiastic populism and political correctness, both of which are very topical at the moment in the Western world, particularly on campus.

This compelling story is unusual, sophisticated and in parts very funny, yet never loses sight of its dark message that is relevant to our times. Hutter’s biting and provocative perspective is entertaining and a good read with plenty to think about.

After reading the book, I spoke to Hutter, who told me that while there are many excellent books on feminism and anti-Semitism by great scholars (such as Wistrich), he believes we can supplement them by satirising “the longest hatred” – making the unpleasant phenomenon accessible to more people who would otherwise not read academic books.

I strongly recommend this original novel to anyone interested in the problem of anti-Semitism, the problem of misogyny, and entertaining fiction.

 

This review is reprinted with kind permission of Algemeiner.

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