The Blindman's Hat

by Bernard Cohen

What the reviewers say

blindman's cover

"4 stars ... This hilarious prize-winning thriller is set in New York where Vernon, an Australian journalist in cahoots with his small dog (whose poetic-cum-philosophic observations punctuate Vernon's narrative), decides to pursue a wild affair, instead of his oddly successful career in journalism. Giving up work, he investigates a friend's sinister disappearance. When his newspaper starts suing, even kidnapping him, Vernon suspects his columns had, in the past, betrayed financial secrets. Eclectic, paranoid and barbed, this is a brilliantly original, appealing orgy of intelligence, humour and lust." -- (UK) Mail on Sunday

"Cohen's loopy, hilarious, perceptive, racy and sexy murder mystery ...manages to sustain the suspense of a thriller, the panache of a stand-up comic and the skill of a serious satirist.
"Just when you think, too, that Cohen's wacky humour may have pushed the boundary, he drops us back into the seriousness of the murder mystery, or the machinations of high-finance swindles, or the workings of a modern-day newspaper.
"Some of Muffy's observations are worthy of that highest of honours -- to be pinned to the fridge.
"This novel is a refreshing breeze through Australian writing. The tension is handles with the skill of a five-ball juggler, the language sharp and the tone unwavering.
"The Blindman's Hat is great fun. A hoot." -- The Australian

"Funny and compelling" -- (Sydney) Daily Telegraph

"Cohen certainly knows how to spin an outrageous yarn" -- Sydney Morning Herald

"Imagine a novel that reads like an extended, off-the-wall cartoon strip, a textual version of Wallace and Grommet, in which man and dog find themselves in New York at the mercy of inexplicable events and bizarre encounters. Imagine an expatriate Australian journalist called Vernon who is on the run from the American newspaper he used to work for and a dog called Muffy who is prone to philosophise on human habits and foibles. Imagine that a blindman called Steve goes missing and that Vernon, his girlfriend Dida and Muffy get caught up in the search for the missing man. Imagine that anything can happen and very likely will. This winner of last year's Vogel Prize is mad-cap absurdism at its most mad-cap" -- (Melbourne) Age

"The two narrators of The Blindman's Hat complement each other well: Vernon is impulsive, anxious, playful and paranoid, while Muffy's philosophical reflections, scattered through the novel, reveal a much darker, more complex sensibility.
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The Blindman's Hat has a cool, charming, cartoonish quality from first to last, and the exuberant paranoia of a caper movie..." Philippa Hawker, Australian Book Review

"As is often the way with outsiders from the boondocks who fall in love with the big city, the young Australian novelist Bernard Cohen brings an engagingly goofy perspective of gee-whizzery to this fairytale of New York, a more than slightly tongue-in-cheek murder mystery that belongs on the same shelves as Armistead Maupin and Tama Janowitz rather than Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. Cohen writes himself into the story as Vernon, a young Australian journalist, whose chronic absence from work on account of a serious case of love elicits an alarming and extravagantly disproportionate response from his employers. Setting out to learn the reason why with his girlfriend Dida (a mobile telephone technician who probably Knows Too Much) and a cute little white dog called Muffy (a definite blood relation of Asta from the Thin Man stories), he soon finds himself up to his button-down collar in hooky Wall Street finaglings etc -- but as they say in the Naked Gun movies, that's not important right now. Style and characters are all." -- (Glasgow) Herald