Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
on 29 June 2008
This is the first book I have read by John Burnside and was impressed.
The story is set in the bubble-like post-industrial 'Innertown' from which no one leaves and very few enter. Burnside writes beautifully and is a very good story teller. The descriptions of the disused chemical plant and the blackened country around it evoke a fantasy landscape of secret groves and mysterious (deformed) animals, with poison and darkness bubbling below the surface.
This poison below the surface is not only preavalent in the landscape, but is present within the characters and the story throughout. The violence and sex of a mostly apathetic youth are both casual and amoral, but nonetheless shocking in their effect.
Burnside seems to be writing to imply that we are all complicit in the casual human and environmental violence that we see around us, but do nothing about.
However, the final couple of chapters of the book don't sit too well with the rest of the story. Maybe I was missing something, but it appears that the message that Burnside was trying to get accross is lost in too much moral relativism and nihilism, with no real hope for change.