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'These are truly the last days, W. says, over honey beer in Cawsands',
This review is from: Spurious (Paperback)
At heart this is a comic tale of the friendship between two provincial academics who feel they are failures in life and in their quest for original philosophical thought. I was worried at the start, however, as the characters seemed disembodied, separate from anything in the real world, lost in the whiteness of the page and the abstraction of their philosophy. I know nothing about philosophy. Was I in for pretentious, indecipherable boredom? Thankfully not; slowly and satisfyingly the characters emerged and were themselves admitting their incomprehension of the philosophy they were trying to read like 'moths repeatedly butting up against a window'. That has certainly been my own experience but luckily it is quite the opposite to reading this accommodating book.
Lars, the narrator (and who knows how much this character shares with Lars, the writer?) is the butt of W.'s banter, somehow kindly meant despite its harshness. Lars is barely revealed except in the distorting mirror of his friend's constant criticism: he is a fat drunk, an idiot, an ape, an eater of stale discounted sandwiches. W. does not spare himself, either, but he believes he is just that tiny bit cleverer, just enough to be aware of his own stupidity. Somehow their studies in messianism (and I'm not sure it matters what that is) have led them to see the apocalypse in all things, or perhaps their sense of the oncoming apocalypse has driven them to their hopeless studies. The gloom, depression, sickness and rising damp that permeate the book make for a surprisingly warm comedy that's easy to relate to, but still intelligent. Well worth reading.