Satire

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The Echo Chamber by John Boyne; ‘Cancelling the Cleverleys’

It took me some time to get around to reading a John Boyne novel probably because they tend to be chunksters rather than the pared-back novellas I favour. I took A Ladder to the Sky on holiday to Portugal then read and thoroughly enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies. The Echo Chamber follows the Cleverleys, made …

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Enter the Aardvark by Jessica Anthony: A winning combination of taxidermy and politics

Several times recently I’ve enjoyed novels I might have otherwise dismissed thanks to a puff from authors whose own work I particularly enjoy. In the case of Jessica Anthony’s Enter the Aardvark it was the ‘fresh, witty and smart’ comment from one of my all time favourites, Kate Atkinson, that sealed the deal. Without it, …

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The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Marching to Fortress Europe

Timur Vermes is clearly not a man to shy away from controversy. His sharp, very funny satire, Look Who’s Back, nailed the internet’s potential for political manipulation with admirable, if unsettling, prescience when Hitler wakes up with a bad headache in 2011 and quickly becomes a YouTube star. The Hungry and the Fat takes on …

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Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas: Sharp, funny and very, very dark

It’s been well over four years since Scarlett Thomas’ The Seed Collectors was published. Since then she’s produced three children’s books. I’d been eyeing the schedules hoping for another adult novel, wondering if her writing career had taken a permanent turn when Oligarchy turned up. This short, biting novel should please Thomas fans with its …

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French Exit by Patrick deWitt: Squewering the rich

I’ve been a keen fan of Patrick deWitt’s fiction since reading his darkly comic ripping yarn, The Sisters Brothers. His last novel, Undermajordomo Minor, was entirely different having more than a touch of the Gothic fairy tale about it. French Exit takes yet another turn with its caustic caricature of the wealthy upper classes, taking …

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