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The Secret Life Of The Novel Kindle Edition
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I never thought I’d give a novel where the main character is an Ampersand a five star review, but, this is without doubt one of the most intricate and thought-provoking works I’ve ever read.
An Incredible sheep-dip like adventure into what the mind can achieve when producing a 572 page experimental/accidental? Masterpiece.
Dean Cavanagh’s debut novel is abundant with head-shaking scenarios and so many varied types of prose, that at times your internal compass is spinning like a diamond on the Singing Ringing Tree!
It is definitely not for the faint of heart. This novel requires complete dedication. I really have never read anything like it. It is extraordinary.
The way his mind works absolutely baffles me with a literary jealousy.
Cavanagh has as complete an understanding of the English language as I have ever encountered.
I have no doubt that this will become a classic for those wishing to learn how to write in a style that is completely free from the shackles of convention.
Congratulations on a magnificent debut novel Mr Cavanagh and I hope your mind recovers in time to produce book number two.
The Life of the Novel is at turns metaphysical, quantum, demented, perverted, confusing, pretentious, joyous, infuriating, genre defying, sprawling mess, genius, rambling, utterly challenging, a disgusting diatribe on lord knows what. It is never anything less than thought provoking entertainment. Indeed, if your idea of fun is ‘My Dinner with Andre’ playing on the radio during a scene in the film adaptation of ‘Inherent Vice’ which you’re viewing on a holographic tablet device at an Aphex Gristle gig which you’re experiencing through a VR headset, then immerse yourself. If not, walk away, don’t look back, give up.
As a previous reviewer noted, it is unique and very contemporary though it did come out a week ago so any right it may have to the claim of ‘contemporary’ has now lapsed. Put it this way, this is neo-digital surrealism writ large.
What’s it about? Who knows. But, if your kick is having your 3rd bloodshot eye squeegeed by transitional hot sauce, then you’ll be truly refreshed. Either that or you’ll be completely duped. Genius or madness? Only you, dear engaging reader, will decide.
It's a long time since I came across a book so packed with ideas, in fact I doubt I ever have. The often tenuous narrative concerns a 'hero' trapped outside of time and in a limbo between life and death, flesh and word. We are teased with linear extracts from his fictional writings and others whose provenance is not made clear. Ultimately we are left to fill in a number of important gaps in these stories for ourselves, but this doesn't feel unsatisfying because the book is always more concerned with the journey than the destination.
And what a journey. Cavanagh takes any and every opportunity to expound on arcane histories and philosophies, science, favourite books and records, economics, sociology and, in one lengthy, unforgettable strand, the Balkans civil war. These subjects are tackled in a range of mind-bogglingly inventive ways, verging a little too close to lectures on occasion but always engrossing and exhaustive. It's fair to say I learned a lot reading this book, although I'd be inclined to do some fact-checking before I quoted any of it it verbatim, such is its playful approach to truth and fiction. There are rather a lot of typos, too, although again this somehow seems less significant in a book about deconstructing literature than it might in a more traditional text.
Overall, it's a very dark, extremely dense but often hilarious post-modern feast of ideas and theory, tangled up with an intriguing plot set in the criminal underworld of late '60s London. I feel pretty confident about saying you won't have read anything like it before. Highly recommended if you're happy to meet an author halfway, because Cavanagh doesn't really put anything on a plate for you here. You'll also need to be in an unshockable frame of mind. There are some truly horrible bits, but more than enough edifying food for thought to make up for it. I've had a great time reading it.
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