Weak. Vernon God Little, though a minor novel (and, we can be honest, giving it the Booker was a misfire by the judges) at least had a degree of gnarly, chewy energy to it. But Pierre's latest underwhelms like a midget limbo-dancer working in a specially excavated trench. The opening sentence:
There isn't a name for my situation. Firstly because I decided to kill myself. And then for this idea:... leads with a leaden inevitability, via a string of glumly uninspired decadent set-pieces, to the last sentence:
I don't have to do it immediately.
There isn't a name for my situation. Firstly because I decided to live. And then for this idea:The no-shit-sherlockness of this doesn't feel earned, and seals the novel as a whole inside its own metaphorical binbag. There are occasional flashes of fire betwixt the bookends, but only occasional, and never very fiery. The narrator, twentysomething Gabriel Brockwell, leaves rehab to indulge in some pre-suicide hedonism, taking his coke-habit and his various cliches of sensibility to Japan and Berlin and the 'greatest bacchanal since the Fall of Rome’ which isn't very great. Decadence is so very last century that its literary representation can't rise too far from embarrassing.
I don't have to do it all immediately.