Anthropology was Dan Rhodes’ first book to be published, in 2000. It was written between October 1997 and November 1998, while he was working on Cherry Gardens Farm in Kent/Sussex border country. He would write the stories in his head while tying in rows of raspberries or picking gooseberries, often in the driving rain. Sometimes they would let him drive the tractor.
Here are some things people have said about it over the years:
Anthropology is very funny and very sharp. The Times
A book you’ll want to hurl from rooftops at passers-by to spread the word. Uncut
Touching and insightful… you’ll want to devour every one. Heat
Effortless to read, amusing and yet coloured by a deep sadness about the passing of things, you will want to hold on to the truths it so skillfully offers for as long as you would to love. The Independent
Anybody who liked There’s Something About Mary will love Rhodes’ book, and that’s a strange thing to be able to say about a piece of conceptual art. LA Weekly
Anthropology is a gleaming box of jazzy miniatures. Exquisitely funny. The Guardian
101 stories, all about girlfriends. They cheat, they die, they leave (frequently) and they name their daughters Lesbian. Every one a 20-second gem. ***** Maxim
The most wonderful, dark, hysterical book since Struwwelpeter – written more than 100 years ago. Anthropology should be compulsory for anyone who is, ever has been, or one day will be, in a relationship. ***** The Big Issue (North)
Rhodes articulates everyone’s worst intimacy nightmares… he should be commended for his economy of words and his outrageous humor. New York Times
A hilarious exploration of the challenges faced by the fairer sex. Despite being written from a male perspective, it will entertain any woman who can laugh at her own foibles. The Times
Almost like Barthes’ “A Lovers’ Discourse”, but rewritten so that it makes sense to the rest of us… What really makes the entire collection enjoyable is the fact that each absurd situation is, against all odds, believable – so maybe it’s not likely that anyone would meet their death from being thrown from a ceiling fan, but, goddammit, it’s possible. What makes the book border on beautiful is the extent of emotion that the narrator feels for each woman, however misguided. Newcity, Chicago
Rhodes’s stories have all the punch of a good one-panel cartoon. Washington Post
I cannot express to you how much this book delighted me. Go and read it. The Big Issue
After thirteen years, Rhodes has finally got around to completing a vague follow-up to Anthropology. Titled “Marry Me”, it’s out now.
***END OF EXTREME NEWS***
Now you can try before you buy. Here are some stories from the book:
These boards are from the 2006 Small Wonder Short Story Festival at Charleston in Sussex.
ITALY, Le Vespe. ISBN: 8883790006
This was the first edition of any Dan Rhodes book to be published, on Valentine’s day 2000.
US, Villard/Random House. ISBN 0375504214
This great-looking hardback was Rhodes’ US debut, and it probably remains the most famous edition of any of his books, on account of it being fleetingly seen on Carrie Bradshaw’s desk in an episode of Sex And The City (Baby, Talk Is Cheap – season 4, episode 54 – evidence here). A fine edition, this is NOT to be confused with the nasty paperback look-alike at the bottom of this list.
NB: The email address on this edition no longer works. Rhodes was very grateful for all the investment tips and pharmaceutical recommendations his devoted readers were sending him, but it all got a bit much after a while.
US, Canongate. ISBN:184195649X
This is the most recent US edition of the book. The “True Love Stories” element of the subtitle is a homage to/rip-off of the classic album True Love Stories by Jilted John.
UK, Canongate. ISBN: 1841956147
UK, F***** E*****. ISBN: 1841151939 Hardback
UK, QPD. No ISBN
A paperback book club edition.
ISRAEL, Kinneret. ISBN: 9652866555
NETHERLANDS, Vassallucci. ISBN 9050001653 Hardback
RUSSIA, Eksmo. ISBN: 5699081089 Hardback
SWEDEN, Lind & Co.. ISBN: 9189538536 Hardback
The book has been renamed “Shipwreck” for this edition.
SWEDEN, Lind & Co.. ISBN: 918953879X Paperback
UK, F***** E*****. ISBN: 1841151947
A double-sided design, with the bar code slapped on the spine.
FINLAND, Sammakko. ISBN: 9524830108
PORTUGAL, Gotica. ISBN: 9727920802
If it’s an enormous edition of Anthropology you’re after, look no further. This beauty is about the size of a briefcase.
ITALY. A brand new translation from our friends at Newton Compton. Amazingly, this edition was a Top 10 hit.
Last, and very definitely least, we bring you this monstrosity…
US, Villard/Random House. ISBN: 0812992237 Paperback
Don’t be fooled by this edition’s superficial resemblance to the admirable hardback towards the top of the page. This paperback is an abomination. It is not only the worst edition of any Rhodes book ever, but productionwise it must surely be the worst-quality book ever to be published by a supposedly reputable house.
HUNGARY. Rhodes has been trying to track down a copy of the Szukits Kiado edition of Anthropology for some years, to no avail. Maybe it exists, maybe it doesn’t. I wonder if we’ll ever know…