September 22, 2017

"Imagine there’s a country somewhere in the world where the legal system works like this..."

"... the judge sits there, bangs his gavel, and declares: ‘The defendant will now rise!'... 'The court finds you guilty of armed robbery, and hereby sentences you to thyroid cancer.’ Or, let’s say, a panel of three judges finds you guilty of rape and sentences you to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Or they say this: ‘The court is informed that the prosecution has entered a plea bargain with the defense, and so instead of that German dude, Alzheimer, the defendant will only undergo a stroke. And for tampering with evidence he’ll get an irritable bowel.'"

From "A Horse Walks into a Bar: A novel," by David Grossman.

Yes, I read another novel! I've read 2 novels this month, very strange for me. I usually read nonfiction books. I read the other novel for reasons described in this post, and I guess it must have stimulated a taste for fiction.

15 comments:

John Christopher said...

I don't think I could have finished this book if I were reading it, but enjoyed it a ton as an audiobook.

Quaestor said...

Jejune.

The real thought experiment supposes a legal system where a judge could bang a gavel and thereby cure one of thyroid cancer.

Quaestor said...

A horse walks into a bar and orders a martini.
The barman serves the drink and says, "We don't get many horses here."
The horse replies, "I don't usually go to bars, but I'm celebrating the publication of my novel."
"We know all about it," says the barman, "Several hundred pages are hanging from a bracket in the men's room."

(crikey, I've got to improve my typing.)

MaxedOutMama said...

I would think that country needs a new constitution, with a provision in it against cruel and unusual punishment.

Mother Nature is the unkindest parent of all. It is humans who create the mercy and justice and stability in a chaotic natural world.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So, we went to the bookstore*, we came home from the bookstore
We went through the front door, up the stairs,
Through the bedroom door, onto the bedroom floor
I read another novel, I read another novel!


*Poetic license. I assume you did not actually go to a bookstore.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't think I could have finished this book if I were reading it, but enjoyed it a ton as an audiobook."

I use a combination of Kindle and audiobook (because I listen to books while walking and walk about 3 miles a day). With "Horse," the audiobook gives you much more of the sense that it's a long, bad standup comedy act gone weird and wrong. But it also makes it hard to understand the narrative portions that are not the comedian's act. The voice is so harsh, so I'm a comedian up here that it's kind of annoying and you don't get enough out of the words that are not quoting him.

The Godfather said...

Thank goodness you explained it was a novel!

Mike Sylwester said...

It's too bad you have retired from your job lecturing about legal systems. You could have made your students buy and read this novel.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's too bad you have retired from your job lecturing about legal systems. You could have made your students buy and read this novel."

The novel isn't about a place like that. It's just one joke in a comedian's stand-up routine, which is the book. Not too much about law, but I could pull out all the law stuff.

Beldar said...

You may not be able to find a "country in the world" like that.

You can find a world like that, in a free e-book (Kindle & other formats) from the 1958 by H. Beam Piper called A Planet for Texans" (aka "Lone Star Planet") — a quick and riotous read, especially for lawyers.

Beldar said...

"The story of a junior diplomat and his first posting to a planet of Texans whose dinosaur-sized cattle have to be herded with tanks, and whose system of government derives its character from Mencken's 1924 essay 'The Malevolent Jobholder,' -- a system under which the killing of a practicing politician is considered justifiable homicide!"

EDH said...

... the judge sits there, bangs his gavel...

STOP THE HAMMERING!

MikeD said...

Althouse previously only read short story fiction IE: NYT, WAPO, New Yorker etc.

Unknown said...

@Beldar 9/22 4:07 pm

The blurb isn't faithful to the book. On New Texas, killings of politicians isn't necessarily justifiable homicide. If a politician is killed by one of his own constituents, it's a special crime of killing a politician, and a jury from the district represented by the politician rules on whether or not the politician had it coming.

Jim S. said...

Are you taking suggestions what to read next? If so, I recommend Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem, which despite the title is not a crime novel about a murderer trying to hide the evidence. It's a science-fiction novel about first contact with an alien civilization. Very thought provoking. One of the best books I've ever read, hands down.