James Morrow’s provocative THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI is inventive with plenty of surprises


Morrow’s use of history here, as in his recent Galapagos Regained, is inventive, mixing historical figures with figures out of fiction and fantasy plus his own original characters to add additional depth to the novel. As a result, his portrayal of the World War I era will touch many nerves with readers familiar with the history and literary treatments of that conflict. At the same time, he delivers a good story, with plenty of surprises and a satisfactory pay-off. This provocative novella is well worth a look.

Greg Hickey’s Philosophical Novels March Madness includes Morrow’s Towing Jehovah in the Nepal Bracket.

Last year, I published my list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels, based on curated lists from The Guardian, Flavorwire and more, suggestions from readers on Goodreads, Quora and Reddit, and picks from philosophical fiction authors like Khaled Hosseini, Irvin D. Yalom, Rebecca Goldstein and Daniel Quinn.

This list remains one of my most popular and most controversial pieces of content. Nearly every reader has a book they think was overrated or wrongly excluded. That’s why I’m giving you the chance to pick your favorite book from the list in the bracket-style competition of Philosophical Novels March Madness.

122 books (121 from my initial list and one from my list of the best of 2017) were assigned to one of four brackets and seeded #1 through #31. Higher seeded books were matched head-to-head against lower seeded books (all #1 seeds and two #2 seeds received first-round byes, the other #2 seeds will face #31 seeds, #3 seeds will face #30 seeds, and so forth). Each day in March, you will have the chance to vote on the best book in each match-up. The book with the most votes will advance to the next round of voting until one book is left standing (in case of a tie, the higher-ranked book on my list will advance).

As of 3/27, Towing Jehovah has made it into the “Sweet 16.”

For more info on THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Elizabeth Story