Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Bright Moon For Fools by Jasper Gibson

Ah, what would be a review penned by yours truly without some sort of grovelling apology at the outset? A better review no doubt, but that aside I can't help but continue the tiresome tradition with an apology. Sorry to my regular robotic readers (hi bots!) but I have been very neglectful of the blog of late, having been tied up with my pursuit of a broader spectrum of dilettantism; I've been taking part in a number of MOOCs offered by various HEIs on the FutureLearn platform. Worth checking out if you ask me.

(Subtle enough plug, you think?)

Anyway, the break afforded by a foray into further education has proved something of a test for Jasper Gibson and his fiction. In truth, it took me a little while to remember what exactly the novel was about, who was in it, and how I felt about the whole thing. Instant alarm bells. Of course, having had a break, I'd had a good crack at filling my head with a whole bunch of other things worth remembering, so maybe it all just got squeezed out. Did that mean A Bright Moon for Fools wasn't worth remembering?

Dipsomaniacal - an apt description of
most Christmas's round mine...
Many books are unduly forgotten, but none are unduly remembered. I think I saw that on a piece of marketing guff in a former life, and it may very well be a famous quotation - answers on a postcard - but it might be the case here. To attempt a plot synopsis, I've had to consult the Kindle. Harry Christmas, the improbably monikered protagonist and a most engaging cad, is a drunk, struggling with the death of his wife / lover (I can't remember which), sick of the... filth?... that is modern society (or his term for it a least), and on the run because in a fit of dipsomaniacal misanthropy he'd legged it with the life savings of some lonely old dear. Now in... Venezuela?... he finds himself pursued by the son of said old dear who, having been frustrated in his attempt to find government sanctioned opportunities for inflicting pain, and haunted by a cat called The General, wants to put pieces of sharp metal into Harry. Justice by fucking great big scary knife. Needless to say, the reason the British Army didn't want him was that he's completely unstable, and he gets into quite a bit of trouble himself. Harry washes up in a... Venezuelan?... town where serendipity smiles upon him for a short time in the form of... some woman he met in a bar somewhere else at some point, and whose disgust mellows into pity by his plight. Now we're all set up for the big ending!

As emotionally stunted as I might be, I can usually remember how I felt at any given point, with a small margin for error, but I'm still struggling to determine what effect if any this novel had on me. I do believe I enjoyed the reading, which can't be bad, and I did really want to like it. Yet this is damning with faint praise and I can only conclude it lacks something substantive. Parallels might be drawn between this and Gibson's online enterprise, The Poke. Whilst it might be very entertaining, full of jokes and humorous set-pieces, it's ultimately forgettable.


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