on 20 December 2015
This is the last part of a well regarded trilogy, or rather the second coda to a Roth-lite succès d'estime, written in the style of an angry old man with little about which to be angry, and concerning unlikeable people who are still as unlikeable as they were in the previous books, but are now more successful and even more boring.
The Man for One Season (Autumn 1952), Adam Morris, whose prescience so neatly intersects with his author's twenty-twenty retrospection, continues on his self-aggrandisingly witty way, to observe the world of his maker's plenty through a partly satirical glass-half-empty gaze. There is in this offering more politics, Blair rather than Thatcher being the totem of derision and genuflection, but it is handled too simplistically, although the author tries hard to cover a binary world-view with the protagonist's artificially tolerant pluralism. There is also an awkward sojourn into an Ian McEwen Saturday that ill-fits the rest of the novel and is only mirror-deep amongst the glittering shallows. Thankfully, the train to Dover Beach has been cancelled (the poem is referenced in the text, always a worryingly literary allusion) although the destination name still blazes unnecessarily bright above a very Londony London platform.
The dialogue remains as clear and clever-clever as before, although the mood is darker, but the intention remains just as opaque. Is this satire, comedic social record, Bildungsroman, roman à clef, or literary soufflé? Who knows? but it is sure to give enormous pleasure to the 2:1 Eng. Lit. brigade.
on 2 May 2010
I quite enjoyed the book because I had read the previous books about Adam Morris et al. I think this is crucial. As ever, I found everyone involved more than a bit precious and self absorbed but at least I knew what to expect. I'm glad I completed the journey with them but a bit relieved that they've all finally tripped fragrantly off over the rainbow.I don't expect I'll miss them.