The more we as social animals alienate ourselves or are alienated from the world through removal from the production process (Marx), as we live our lives through the next episode of Big Brother or the Bold and the Beautiful, as we define ourselves through fashion or possessions, then the further we drift away from our authentic selves - shades of D.H. Lawrence! Our relationships become defined by money - in the book IN PRAISE OF TRUTH three generations defy that trend by confining money to a black wooden box, its contents ultimately used in exchange for a single work of art whose subject is the Madonna. Under triumphant Capitalism our desires are monitored and fostered by envy - in the book IN PRAISE OF TRUTH the anti-hero's life long love Paula is the love object of her plastic surgeon who is able to "create a structure" in his busy married life "that also left space for her" and where he could dispose of his seed three times a week and our anti-hero asks whether this could be a more frequent occurrence as Paula is often restless!
The anti-hero, Marklund - who constantly surprises with his observations, his absence of the seven deadly sins, his obsession with the power of art to infuse life with meaning - is reminiscent of Billy Budd. He seems untainted by sin who does not understand the ways of modern living. He understands nothing he exclaims, including himself. He admits however, that he may have underestimated life and overestimated art. He frequently refers to his favourite book The Guinness Book of Records which stands for, one presumes, the varieties of bizarre human behaviour. He and Paula, his one true love, laugh over it breathing garlic fumes over each other - these touches, their garlic breaths, add a kind of authenticity to the reality of their lives. Or the illusion of their existence?
Continually surprising, this novel captivates the reader with its quirky humour whilst
questioning modern life as we, most of us, live it. Art, illusion, the art market, the copy, love, desire, the art of celebrity, the marketing of talent, consumerism, insecurity and more, pepper this lovely work. A joy of a read.