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April brings three visions of human beings as machines—along with an outstanding novel

By Hermione Eyre   April 2012

None of the major publishing houses is promoting a religious tract this Easter. Intellectual life was once preoccupied by man’s relationship with God, but this has been superseded by another fascination: man’s relationship with machines. Are they made in our image, or we in theirs? Three of this month’s most exciting publications consider human bodies as machines—whirring, hydraulic-hearted, spring-operated automata, whose malfunctions (violence, grief) seem to be pre-programmed.

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Peter Carey, twice a winner of the Booker (now Man Booker) prize, has written 18 novels but never before has his lead character been an articulated duck. The Chemistry of Tears…

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