Disturbingly dark, uncomfortably ulterior and grotesquely Gothic - this is a novel about what lies either side of living. An imaginary world of ennui, dullness and repitition, osmotically conveyed through the principle character of Lily, a self absorbed caricature of suburban mediocrity, self hate and hopelessness. No surprise that Self constantly refers to negative historical events, unrestrained materialism and the deceptive allure of drug misuse. I felt that the story was less about how the dead live but how the living are dead. A moribund existence of destructive competition, agression, hate and intolerance. Take for example, Lily's daughters who inhabit lives at opposite ends of the social spectrum: Charlotte is the archetypal middle-class wifey, soaked in opulence and drowning in convention, whereas Natasha craves heroin and emotionally inept relationships. Although the content is bleak, Self's acute portrait of society's ills, is humourously conveyed. There is an incisive satire at play here, perhaps jaundiced by death but, nevertheless, a lesson in objective analysis that left me feeling upbeat and entertained. After all this is just a fictional story about a pre/post life consciousness that is often the domain of religion. To what extent Self is teasing himself and/or the reader is an interesting question.
6 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?