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The book follows our protagonist through a single evening in Northern England. The narrator delivers honest and complicated inner and outer dialogue, draping the novel with thematic elements regarding his own narcissism. The novel is subtitled as "A Broken Polemic", a polemic being a written attack. The narrator deeply questions himself and his surroundings, and leaves the reader wondering how to organize their own thoughts.
Where Carey excels is in his ability to deliver such a novel without overdoing anything. The book is simple, eloquent, and memorable. Carey writes in such a way so as not to make the reader feel as though they are reading an angry blog on the internet, but rather a well put together novel that emphasizes the honesty of its own writer.What is truly alluring about the novel is its lack of predictability. The narrator does not nonchalantly offer rather meaningless information or cliché questions, but truly a dialogue that makes the reader think. The novel alludes to themes of existentialism, questioning purpose without completely overwhelming the text. It is not a dissertation on philosophy, but rather simple, to the point, and interesting. It appeals to the sometimes apparent angst and confusion of youth, as well as perspectives of superiors.
In short, the book is in no way negligible. While it has its flaws, mostly grammatical, they do not overshadow the context in which they reside. I would recommend it to anyone that wants a quick read that provokes genuine thought. Though short, it is not light. The concepts and ideas will sit with the reader for a period of time to come. The novel embodies a certain spirit of the cynical youth. It must be noted that many may not find the contents agreeable, but rather should serve as an interpretation of the components of a common young man’s mind. Carey did not intend to write a book so that people would agree with it, but rather express disdain for certain topics in a way that would provoke thoughts and reactions.
I would give the book 3 out of 4 stars. It was well written, thought provoking, and a quick read. I feel as though the novel is somewhat underrated, and should receive more attention, though only recently published.
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