Top critical review
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Enjoyable, inventive stuff, though with too light a touch.
on 3 December 2001
I don't envy an author the task of writing a second novel, when the first has been deemed a post-modern classic. Yet, the manner with which Alex Garland set about this task with The Tesseract was inspired. Instead of trying to outdo, or repeat his previous efforts, he simply side-stepped them with this neat collage of interwoven short-stories. Each tale was a glimpse of a true life with its many intricate problems and joys. The initial character was extremely similar to that of the hero in The Beach, yet ultimately is the person we are the least sympathetic towards. His most touching portrayal is that of the Nurse, who we recognise, and subsequently empathise with the most. Yet it is the character of the homeless child which undermines all that had gone before it in the book. Up to that stage there was a deep sense of commitment to each individual to ensure that they were not stereotypes. Or that if they were then to twist them into a situation that makes their actions believable. The boy is not real, he is a tool with which to tie all those stories which had gone before him together. Unfortunately this was clumsily done. This flaw is almost rescued by the prescence of the shrink, trying to give meaning to the boy, almost but not quite.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The reason behind the criticism's I have given above is simple; it was so very nearly another classic. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed his previous work, and anyone who enjoyed Pulp Fiction who can also read.