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Contented with it, though not possessed
on 22 August 2010
"The Picture Of Contented New Wealth" is essentially a metaphysical philosophical discourse using the allegory of demonic spirit possession of the wife and child of the wealthy and materialistic Conti and the Tyger Tyger house where they live.
It's told in an allegorical folk-tale style, populated by characters with names such as Conti (the Yuppie) Bliss (the Shrink), Stack (who does the filing), the eccentric Hatters, Mr Squeers (likes young boys), Mr Crook (Vicar) Raffle (smokes Silk Cut), and so on - a Colonel Mustard wouldn't have gone amiss in this line-up. All of the characters with the exception of the possessed woman and son, the mysterious exorcist (The Rector) and perhaps the housekeeper, are portrayed pretty much as the empty vessels they are.
The author creates a highly enjoyable portrayal of the behaviour of the possessed mother and child both during their possession and the subsequent exorcism, while the other characters react to the bizarre goings on by reflecting back on their own lives, loves, desires and wealth.
The message of the mind as something free from the body and the material cosmos of which it is a part, and the fact that Conti realises that it's the non-corporeal mind of his wife he's trying to rescue and can't just buy everything better, and of course the subtler references and further discussion that could be had, is for me personally almost incidental to a witty and reference-loaded story of a possession and exorcism.