Thomas Hodgkinson

Now Look Here

The Eye: A Natural History

By

Bloomsbury 336pp £17.99 order from our bookshop
 

In 1990 a former prostitute named Fatou Sarre was tried in Alsace for the murder of her mother-in-law. Why, the prosecutor wanted to know, had Fatou, after bludgeoning Odile Gayean to death with a hammer, proceeded to gouge out her eyeballs? Fatou’s reply was simple but surprising: she had been afraid that the dead woman’s retinas would preserve an image of her in the act of murder. The curious thing – okay, one of the curious things – was that the origin of this belief wasn’t traced to Fatou’s childhood in Senegal, but to a Bollywood film she had happened to see, which itself had borrowed the notion from nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European fiction (by, among others, Jules Verne).

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter