John Hawkes: Travesty

(2400 words)
  • Rita Ferrari (Independent Scholar - North America)

John Hawkes's novel Travesty (1976) is a one-hundred-and-twenty-eight page monologue spoken by “Papa” as he drives his sports car “at one hundred and forty-nine kilometers per hour on a country road in the darkest quarter of the night”, heading deliberately for a stone wall a meter thick. His passengers and audience are his twenty-five-year-old daughter, Chantal, who huddles on the floor in the back of the car vomiting, and his best friend, Henri, who sits wheezing in the passenger seat. As he speeds, Papa tries to account for his existence and his drive to end it: “Who does not fear the inexplicable fact of his existence?” he asks. “Who does not dread the unimaginable condition of not existing?&…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Ferrari, Rita. "Travesty". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]