My Little Armalite Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
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"Hawes has developed into a prolifically inventive and increasingly subtle satirist. Though the current novel features all his regular trademarks - black humour, sharp dialogue and a plot that goes off with all guns blazing in every respect - one senses that this book is also Hawes's homage to one of the great academic satires of the last century, Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man" (Guardian)
"Very witty... Both laddish and slyly intelligent, Hawes has his cake and eats it" (Daily Telegraph)
"Terrific black satire" (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph)
"Hawes scatters pellets of satirical wit on the twitchy paranoia of the ageing liberal" (Arena)
`Hawes has developed into a prolifically inventive and increasingly subtle satirist. Though the current novel features all his regular trademarks - black humour, sharp dialogue and a plot that goes off with all guns blazing in every respect - one senses that this book is also Hawes's homage to one of the great academic satires of the last century, Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man'
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Hawes skewers the chattering classes' liberal sensibilities in an playful, affectionate way, and manages to tell a pretty interesting and amusing story while he's at it.
One note - there's a secret sticker on the cover that's so subtle I didn't notice it was there until my daughter peeled it off. Make sure you find yours!
The story takes place over the course of a few days when the protagonist's wife has taken the kids away on a holiday so that he can focus on finishing the Very Important Paper he is slated to deliver in a week. This paper that could be the resurrection of his creaking career, which has been adrift since the revelation that the East German poet that he championed and made his reputation on was actually a major in the KGB, spying on dissident artists. In any event, procrastinating from his writing leads him to a little night-time gardening, which leads him to the gun, and then in turn, a boozing session with a thuggish neighborhood watch type, a ride into the teeming streets of late-night London revelers, a scary visit to Peckham, and then a whirlwind trip to Prague and Dresden. Wacky antics do indeed, ensure -- they're just not necessarily all that amusing.
The best part of the book is his trip to Prague, where he books a session of instruction at a local gun club, where he is shepherded by a an ex-Sarajevan Muslim, who explains the world to him. But all in all, the satire is just too broad, the protagonist too unlikeable, and the plot twists too silly, for me to really enjoy the book.
Together with 'Crump' this is my favourite satirical novel of the academic, 'metro-liberal', chattering classes of the last decade. Great fun!
This is one of my all time best books. So witty and original and a very good expose of hypocrisy. I bought several copies to give to my friends and they loved it as much as I did.
James Hawes cannot write a boring sentence.
I've downloaded other books of his which are available on kindle and I'm looking forward to reading them.