Patricia Duncker is a novelist of ideas. Her work has encompassed French postmodernism, gender politics, postcolonialism and cultural diversity. Her fifth novel, The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge, takes on monotheist sects, astronomy, opera and the battle between rationalism and mysticism. Like much of her previous fiction, it does so within the context of a thriller.
Duncker's inspiration here is what she calls ‘warped Christianity’ and the phenomenon of mass suicide, as well as the more recent horror of the suicide bomber. What fascinates her is the strength of a believer's convictions. This being Duncker, it is not just the members of the blandly