The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, July 13, 2009

Theatrical, cruel, and implausible events

My old mate Ellis Sharp has sent me a copy of his new book, Dead Iraqis. Already reviewed enthusiastically in the Guardian by Nicholas Lezard, and with shout-outs by China Mieville, Lee Rourke, Iain Banks and me across the cover, this greatest hits compilation can't be expected to get a cool, objective review here, and it isn't going to get one. In the long-vanished fanzine New Dawn Fades, I described the stories in one of Sharp's earlier collections (from which four of the stories in this selection come) as 'free world samizdats [...] used to smuggle uncomfortable truths past the censors and border-guards of consciousness'. I've cited, quoted, alluded to, referenced, imitated, aped, mimicked and quite likely plagiarized some of them for decades.

All I can say is this. If you have a taste for experimental writing, and if the world has ever seemed to you to be in some measure a matter of 'Theatrical, cruel and implausible events organised upon the curving surface of a large globe hurtling through space, vulnerable to collisions, explosions, innumerable disasters both natural and man-made, a world squeezed beneath capitalism and state capitalism, crawling with hungry worms beneath every foundation stone and bed of roses and green well tended lawn' then this book is for you.

If you are easily offended, or are of a sensitive disposition, this book can be recommended as a small step towards ridding yourself of these afflictions.

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I will buy it shortly and look forward to reading it.

Your last line makes me want to give the book to several friends and family members. Unfortunately I don't think that they recognize their sensitivities as afflictions.

Good to hear you're buying the book. Read it before giving copies as a gift, though :-)

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