Book Review – August 2015 – Sallie Eden

quicksandQuicksand by Steve Toltz – Published by Sceptre, May 2015

Described as “a daring, brilliant work by one of our most original and fearless novelists”, Quicksand is written by the author of the Man Booker shortlisted “A Fraction of the Whole”.

I don’t usually review prize winning books or authors or those which for one reason or another get lots of publicity but, prompted by a friend, I decided to break with tradition.

The main character, Aldo, is “relentlessly unlucky” in life. His long time friend, Liam, a police officer and failed writer, uses Aldo’s life and experiences to inspire his writing. How to describe the story? Hints of Kafka, Vonnegut and Kerouac here and there, although I’m really not sure what else to say because, Dear Reader, I gave up before the end, speed reading from around half way.

Reviews across the media were overwhelmingly positive, variously describing it as a tour de force, smart, inventive, energetic and very funny. Online reviews by readers are much more mixed with some viewing it as a masterpiece and others being positively brutal.

Me? I didn’t find it remotely amusing, in fact I thought it was over long and thoroughly unpleasant. On the positive side, it’s got an original and very striking cover!

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