5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Funny, Thought-provoking, and Brave.,
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
In his latest novel, Ben Elton sticks his neck out as fearlessly as if he was The Lernaean Hydra on the cusp of a beheading by Islamic extremists who have `blind faith'. Well, almost as fearlessly, because instead of attacking the bigotry of Islamic fundamentalism by name, Elton cleverly bundles all religious bigotry together into an intolerant, New Age Christianity in which Princess Diana rules heaven beside Jesus and the Virgin Mary. He doesn't mention that other God who's Great, compassionate, and merciful. This is very wise, as it increases Elton's chance of staying alive to write more novels.
`Blind Faith' uses Orwell's `Nineteen Eighty-Four' as a launch pad into a future in which people with aesthetic sensibilities have been replaced by fat uneducated Chavs with an overdeveloped sense of their right to consume. The Church has as much power in the water-logged Britain of the future, as radical Islam has in present-day Iran. The difference is that instead of being whipped for showing an ankle in public, women are expected to expose their bodies as an expression of their spirituality - and to show off their tattoos.
Elton takes current issues such as hypocrisy over paedophilia, obesity, and childhood inoculations, and imagines them taken to extremes. The result is a society in which all food contains sugar, and if you don't upload porn videos of yourself onto the net, you're depraved. The book is a hilarious satire in which the stupidity of denying education and rational argument is exposed, whilst elegantly mocking the superficial, fame-obsessed culture that results. As well as making us laugh, Elton scares us in two ways. Firstly by pointing further along the path we walk, and showing us the place we're going to. Secondly by reflecting us when we least expect it, so we can see how far we've already come. Just as I'm laughing at the way people I see as `them' are portrayed, I come across an equally poignant passage that describes my failings perfectly. I swallow my pride and admit "It's a fair cop, Ben. I'm a wanker too." `Blind Faith' presents us with a future that is worse than today. Ironically, it will be the future when Ben Elton is given the appreciation he deserves (but doesn't get) today. He's compassionate, he's merciful, and a he's great writer!