Magazine article The Spectator

One into Three Will Go

Magazine article The Spectator

One into Three Will Go

Article excerpt

Alex Garland's first novel, The Beach, was an enormous success; it won a prize for travel fiction, it has been made into a film with Leonardo di Caprio and (best of all) it is, if you believe feature writers, an essential accoutrement for any would-be 'ladette' (Nineties woman). The Tesseract is his eagerly anticipated second novel. It is set in contemporary Manila and made up of three interconnecting short stories.

The first story is a mini-thriller: Sean, a character about whom we learn no more than his name, waits to meet a local gangster in a dingy hotel room. There may not be too much to this story but it is certainly dramatic. Although Garland's prose style may waver from pithy to trashy, it has, nonetheless, a fluidity which complements well the simple plot.

If the first story is all action and no characterisation, then the second is quite the opposite. An Indonesian woman reminisces about her childhood and first love as she waits for her husband to return home. Garland only gives himself time to sketch her character through flashbacks before suddenly (if unsurprisingly) bringing the two stories together.

So, by now, we have a certain degree of tension and at least one character. The third story breaks away completely from the other two. It concerns an imaginative street-child and his relationship with a philanthropic psychologist who pays money to hear and analyse his dreams. In the implausible persona of Alfredo, the psychologist, Garland allows himself several chapters to ramble on about life, death, fate and astrophysics. …

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.