Sunday, 1 August 2010

Book #52


Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan


The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidised affair with his landlord's wife, a dentist who won't stop crying, and a deaf woman who winds up dead. When Shane becomes a suspect, he'll have to clear the good name he's never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.


Paul Neilan dedicates this book to his parents at the beginning, saying: To my parents, who will hopefully never read this book. I can see why. It's actually quite an offensive novel, and I think it could be viewed as quite politically incorrect in so many ways. I almost don't want to recommend it for these reasons, but since I'm a rather immoral girl - read it, it's amazing.

It's so good! I spent my entire time reading it laughing, and then feeling bad for laughing. The way Shane, our narrator, describes life is absolutely hilarious, and his inner thoughts reminded me a bit of my own deep thinkings on simple life matters. He is rather cynical and spiteful of everyone and everything, which also echoes a bit on the way I personally see things.

Neilan's characters are insane. My favourite was Doug the dentist, who gets his head stuck in the bus door every time he goes on it, and freaks out at the sound of people walking on sand. All of the characters were incredibly interesting and disgusting at the same time.

I really think that Neilan's humour here is what salvages the book. The plot isn't overly brilliant; it's just Shane's observations of it that make the book worthwhile. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, too, it seemed really formulaic to me, but maybe that was something to do with the apathy of the whole thing. I've been debating this with myself, and I'm still not too sure.

It's definitely worth a read, though, if you like dark humour and laughing at grossly inappropriate things that are in no way supposed to be funny.


52 / 66 books. 79% done!

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