The Thought Gang

ISBN: 1565842863
ISBN 13: 9781565842861
By: Tibor Fischer

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About this book

"A cult novel for the 1990s" (London Times) from the Booker Prize finalist.

Reader's Thoughts

Matthew L.

"I contemplate the possibility that I have an indestructible liver, one that will be a medical prodigy for centuries, and that long after the rest of me has melted me away, my liver will be transplanted from patient to patient, like a family heirloom."This book was recommended to me by a formerly great friend. Though I'm not certain it stands up as a novel, it is an interesting stream of consciousness piece with some quotable quotes. It's worth a read, but if you're not into it in the first third, I'd put it down, cause it won't change appreciably.


A lot of fun. Feels a little of-its-time, but not necessarily dated. Very strong, convincing voice (better than Amis, with whose early work this book (particularly the earlier parts) must often be compared). Curiously inspiring. Get zet.

Jordan Halsey

This still might be my favorite book. The Lord of the Rings had more impact and Infinite Jest was more ground-breaking but those are the only books that are even in the running, which should tell you how much I love the Thought Gang. Granted, there's hardly a word Tibor Fischer has written that I don't love, but the Thought Gang stands apart even in that company.It's funny, and sad, and it's the story of everyone, although really it is about a broken-down, middle-aged Cambridge philosophy professor (lecturer?) and a one-armed French criminal who meet at the bottom-rung of life and somehow form a partnership to rob their way back up the ladder.Doesn't sound like a very universal story. But packed in there you'll find love, failure, friendship, a little Greek and a lot of luck. And most importantly, you'll find hope. It's never too late, even when it is, and the Coffin Method will save every one of us someday.


Forget the book jacket netherworld, where "darkly comic," "sardonic," "sly," "witty," "riotous," and "uproarious" all mean "you won't laugh once."End to end, only the opening of Todd McEwan's Arithmetic Town and Redmond O'Hanlon's travelogues rival this novel for laughs per page. Read this in public at your peril. You'll laugh. Out loud. Repeatedly.The only caveats are 1) give it twenty pages, and 2) yes, there's one offputting, unfunny ten page stretch during the narrator's graduate school days.The rest is a pageturning joy. Read it, read it, read it.


This book sure tries hard to be clever, but only once in awhile was I amused by all the rampant wordplay and puns. The flashbacks are, at times, amusing but don't mean much to the story. The characters are as deep as Bruce Willis in Die Hard (not that there's any correlation between stories... just the first analogy that popped to mind.) As for insight, sure, there's some.Over-hyped, but entertaining nonetheless.


Fischer's sharp from the first sentence and never holds back. A self-proclaimed lay-about (who's doctorate in philosophy from Cambridge does nothing to protect him from mayhem for most of his life), Eddie Coffin begins his journey into midlife crisis with a bang: he is found by one eyed sociopath Hubert who's prosthetic leg and hand don't stop him from being seriously violent, and driven to bump off French banks for an easy Franc (published before the Euro). Sound like a Guy Ritchie film yet?Our fat, balding middle aged man doesn't just loose his way into bank robbing like some other hapless novel's protagonist; he's the kind of guy that's been using ancient philosophy and argument as a means to all sorts of drama. The novel bounces back through Coffin's past for crazed interludes, just in case you thought that bank robbery would be the height of Coffin's illegalities. He may be a genius, but Coffin's ceaseless cynicism and lack of ambition have landed him in heaps of trouble that seem to get more unbelievable with Hubert and Coffin's amped up heists!The situational comedy abounds. Imagine the bank robbers walk in and lecture you on philosophical theory before calmly strolling out with all the cash. Imagine a football match: cops vs crooks. If you haven't been imagining a chubby Jason Statham in the newest Guy Ritchie, it's because you haven't read this book.Fischer's quick with his word play; every sentence is a bomb of sarcastic wit that will make you laugh. The formatting (philosophical argumentation) serves up sarcasm by the slab. It's pure entertainment. I found it to be a bit of a cold novel, though. I'm confident that my ranking of this novel has more to do with my state of mind than the novel itself. It's a fast paced read that should never have taken me a week to read.


This is really a great read for entertainment, very witty and well-written. A Guy Ritchie-esque novel (pre Sherlock Holmes)

Carol Lindsey

Ahhhhhhh.. I am in love with Tibor Fischer's brain. His parents were both professional Hungarian basketball players. The guy has won literary awards, offended and delighted people with his book reviews (he isn't afraid to loose a job over an opinion). This book is such a freaking good tale, my sister and I read it aloud to oneanother on a 10 hour road trip to visit relatives in cajun country. You will laugh until a hernia pops out. I will not spoil it for you, find a copy and prepare to become a Fischer groupie.


Outside of some humorous wordplay, there is absolutely nothing of interest or substance in this book.


A good and entertaining book with an interesting premise. I thought the story execution could have been better though. The end left something to be desired too, and I kept thinking that it would have been a better movie than book which for me is usually not the case.


I bought this book in London (I think used) and read it on the plane. It went from my eyes to some place lost .... Nevertheless I enjoyed it, but maybe more for the idea of bank robbers who are philosphers. I like the idea of it, which is fantastic. But is the idea better than this book? Perhaps so, but nevertheless I enjoyed the read - which made the travel more... focused on the book then the plan delays, etc.


Don't ever try to read this book on an airplane. People will think you're crazy on accounts of your random bursts of hysterical laughter. It's weird, it's hysterical, it's wrong on many levels and it uses the letter "z" more than any other book in the history of novels. In short, it's perfect.


There is no dictionary that can accommodate you reading this book; you're just going to have to go with Fischer's context clues to deciper his stunning vocabulary. He does love to get it out.I didn't like this as much as The Collector Collector, perhaps because I'm not a student of philosophy. There are a lot of in-jokes in there. Fischer is one of a very few authors I read that actually makes me laugh out loud, as opposed to going, "Hm, very funny" and moving along. Let's cheer for him to have a long and productive career.

Diego Bracho

hasta ahora aprendí: entra profundamente en la edad mediana, echa a perder tu carrera, malversa grandes sumas, dirígete a paises extraños para hundirte en la botella hasta morir, da un golpe a un banco... y así tu vida amorosa no encontrará fin.

Babak Fakhamzadeh

An enjoyable book, similar in style and quality to Fischer's The Collector Collector, but nowhere near his magnificent Under the Frog, which was a total masterpiece for being based in reality. Fischer uses his absurdist style once more, which most often works, but is lacking at times, being too far fetched or too much a construct.

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