Thursday, 2 September 2010

Country of the Blind

by Christopher Brookmyre

This is the book to read if Cloud Atlas left you despairing over the state and future of mankind. Once again, the will-to-power is under scrutiny, this time in the guise of the complacent, mid-90s Tory government. It's the big-hearted cynic versus Them, and I'm not going to spoil the ending.

Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to spoil the ending. The good guys win.

It's not too much of a surprise though. Country of the Blind is the second of five novels to date staring Jack Parlabane, so he's not deid yet. And, like Jack, this book has a huge beating heart, barely hidden beneath the cynicism, and big hearts never lead to Tory victories. 

Though it's a Jack Parlabane book, it doesn't mean he's utterly the main character. He's definitely the key, but equal time is given to the stitched-up Tam McInnes, and the young lawyer Nicole Carrow.

There's a reason, I think. I've said it already, this book has a heart. And in the middle of the cleverness, the explosive plot, the media moguls and government conspiracies and elite SAS-style bad guys, there's a whole host of touching relationships. There's Tam and his son Paul, Tam and his friend Bob, there's Nicole and her father.

But it is a Jack book, overall, because the most touching relationship, in the background almost all the time, is Jack Parlabane and his fiance, Sarah Slaughter. She's the anaesthetist who can match him for gruesome content at the end of a working day.

As well as being touching, as well as being a giant middle finger to the tabloidisation of the country, and as well as having a happy ending, Country of the Blind is hilarious, clever and compelling. I'm starting to think that those three are par for the course avec le Brookmyre.

1 comment:

  1. I've given up on Brookmyre, thinking all his books are the same. Well, very similar, at the least. I wonder how this book compares to Cloud Atlas? In what way?

    Recently, I've been getting the feeling I should give Brookmyre another chance. So, I may well pick this up! Thanks for the review.