Magazine article The Spectator

Redemption with Laughs

Magazine article The Spectator

Redemption with Laughs

Article excerpt

A Bright Moon for Fools by Jasper Gibson Inside the Dog, £14.99, pp. 352, ISBN 9780957418108 Harry Christmas, the central character of this bitterly funny debut novel, is a middleaged, overweight alcoholic, with no friends and no prospects. After marrying a woman and running off with her money, he flies to Venezuela. He justifies this in two ways, the first sentimental, the second pragmatic. He wants to visit the country of his deceased first wife's family, and he wants to escape the Rot.

The Rot can be defined as everything that Christmas doesn't like about England (or, we soon learn, about the world in general). This turns out to be a long and varied list. He despises the indoor smoking ban and sport, but he also can't stand scatter cushions and people who make quotation marks with their fingers.

Most of all, he hates the internet and everyone who uses it; 'an electric Gulag', as he puts it, 'a network of lonely children indulging in communities of selfsurveillance' (this appears more masochistic if you know that Gibson is co-founder of thepoke. co. uk, a popular humour website). The first few chapters, as Christmas does his best to deflect and avoid everything that irritates him, can be read as pure observational comedy. These passages mostly take place in airports or on planes, and are reminiscent of David Lodge's early, globetrotting campus novels, although with a sharper edge.

But this is more than just a stand-up routine. Once in Venezuela, and after a couple of heroic binges, Christmas meets Judith, a lonely Englishwoman with a big house and a pottery habit. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.