8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Complicated, challenging, but not actually very good,
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This review is from: The Illuminatus! Trilogy (Paperback)
I first read Illuminatus back in the early 90s after it was constantly referenced by the band The KLF (also known as the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu... etc.). Like the reviewer DayTripper, at the time it went totally over my head and I got to the end of it without being really able to say what the book was about.
Now in 2008 I've gone back to give it another crack, to see if nearly two decades later it makes more sense. Now, I understand what it is about, I understand the conspiracy theory context that it sits within and in some ways creates, the interesting way that it tries to wind its narrative around real-life events like Kennedy's assassination, and I understand what the jumpy and quite 'post-modern' narrative approach is. Somehow I didn't spot first time round that this book is, first and foremost, a comedy.
However (and this is a big HOWEVER), despite 'getting it' this time, I'm afraid to say that it now reads as... rubbish. It is simply way too long, it loses its way at several points, its deliberate attempts to confuse the reader are sometimes childish rather than challenging, and the 'special twist' about 50 pages from the end is now very dated and obvious. I wouldn't recommend it.
The 'eye in the pyramid' Illuminati theory is popular in Hollywood at the minute, thanks to films like National Treasure and The Number 23, but if I were as much of a genuine conspiracy theorist as some of the other reviewers seem to be, then I would see this book not as 'the truth' but as a bizarre smokescreen to give conspiracy nuts something to bite their own tails with while the real conspiracy goes unnoticed. If there is a global conspiracy, the numbers 23 and a talking dolphin called Howard do not feature prominently...