The casual, random nature of death and the inexplicable mysteries of ordinary life punctuate the compelling narrative of this fourth novel by Christopher Meredith.
Through the eyes of office worker Dean Lloyd he brings to life a group of perceptively-drawn, highly individual characters facing the change and stasis of life in post-industrial south Wales. Welsh-speaking Wil is driven by his quest to recover both his personal past and the history of his country before he dies of cancer; Matt desperately keeps up appearances as he loses everything but his pride; the ‘small strange genius’ of Clive's childhood self resurfaces in his final, tragic gesture; while the incomer, Jeffrey, never quite fitting in, struggles vainly to stifle loneliness under compulsive, sociable activity. With subtlety and empathy laced with humour, Meredith gradually reveals the fears and weaknesses men so carefully conceal under a carapace of carefully constructed masculinity. Each in his different way resorts to deception or self-deception and struggles with the difficulties of communication between men, or between them and the women in their lives.
The Book of Idiots evokes with the author’s customary sensitivity the individual's search for order and meaning in life in an increasingly dislocated society. With its playful exploration of the conventions of narrative, this is a satisfying, perfectly structured and paced novel.
‘You will sail through this hilarious black comedy at one sitting… It is a literary masterpiece... A thriller in which we guess who survives rather than who will die next.’
'A darkly comic triumph full of uncomfortable truths.'
'A success that may be unprecedented... The book is subtle. Age-old questions of free will, fate and chance gnaw at the dystopia and questions spring into the reader's moral mind. Read it. You will hold in your hands a work of consummate skill.'