Friday, November 12, 2010
Every revolution has its counterrevolution - that is a sign the revolution is for real.
The art of subtly is not dead! Campbell Street, Hobart. November 2010.
A couple of books to tackle this week, one a sombre reflection on Poland’s troubled history through the twentieth century; the second a riotous romp through the Edwardian era that touches on every perversion known to man!
The former is Mercedes-Benz, by Pawel Huelle. Huelle is one of the most eminent modern Polish writers. Mercedes-Benz has an unrelenting narrative that drives (literally) through the defining moments of modern Polish history.
Truthfully, you have never read sentences this long, but the style does complement the tale. Constructed in the format of a descriptive letter to Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, the book fuses the challenge of driving lessons in the early-1990's Gdańsk, with the broader story of Pawel's father, grandfather and the fate of Poland fused into one.
It really is a wonderful fusion of autobiography, history and fictional creation. It is well worth a look.
The second book is The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss, who you may know better as David/Val/Mickey/Brian/Hilary/Tony/Sheila/Phil/Mr. Chinnery/Les McQueen from the black as midnight but nonetheless outstanding League of Gentlemen television series.
Like that TV show, The Vesuvius Club is not subtle. Revolving around the perversions and gothic excesses of Edwardian London (and Naples), the protagonist of the tale is the heroic Lucifer Box: an impenitent narcissist, artistic dandy, who combines his artistic endeavours, debauched lifestyle with a career in the secret service.
Following an unmentionable indiscretion Lucifer has been blackmailed into His Majesty's service as a secret agent. Given the vivid descriptions of innumerable indiscretion through the novel, one shudders what that original indiscretion must have been!
Very much a genre-fusing parody with all amps turned up to 11, this book is a riot. Romance, action, adventure (drugs, money, buggery, midgets, and bad puns), this book has the lot.
If you like a laugh, and have little time for subtly in your comedy, read it now.