IF The Book of Paulwere a music album, a critic might say it had cross-over appeal.
It has a feel of a genre novel but it is hard to classify because of its elements of sci-fi, dystopia, psychological drama and comedy.
I believe its publicity machine is running with supernatural thriller and that is a good as label as any.
I read not much genre fiction apart from Chandleresque private-detective yarns. While I say ’’not much’ , none at all is closer to the mark.
New York author Richard Long was able to hook me and keep me on the line until the end. That is a good effort as, before reading The Book of Paul, I thought tarot was an Asian root vegetable.
I figured Hermetics were cosmetics Doctor Frankenstein especially made for his patient Herman Munster. I thought body modification was ‘’hotting up’’ an old car. I could go on but you should have my drift by now.
The Book of Paulis a cleverly constructed thriller, built around a title character who it must be said is not very nice. Sado-masochism is often a relatively harmless Saturday night in after a hard week at the office. Then there is a date with Paul.
Like the author, I am of Irish extraction with the attendant light skin so I tend to avoid ultra-violent rays (You might like to re-read that last sentence – or not – it is up to you.) The Book of Paul seemed ultra-violent to me, but maybe I am a shrinking violet. From now on, a great American rock band will not be the first thing that springs to mind when I hear the phrase “talking heads’’.
Not that the author appears to condone violence, except in the interests of entertainment.
To balance the horror and gore, there is a lot of humour – from puns and slapstick to satirical cultural references and even self-parody of the novel and its author.
There is also a lot of information, mainly delivered in a casual fashion so the reader can chose to investigate further or just read on. As a journalist, I have been writing on visual art for the past 30 years but this novel first alerted me to the wonderful genre of outsider art.
Various readers will take different things from this most entertaining and thoughtful novel. Me I will remember the pieces of information and the theme that the child is parent to the adult.
If you are engrossed in this novel, there is promise of plenty more to come in sequels and prequels (I think I have the two out of order.)
Even if you just want to dip in your feet in the literary waters outside your comfort zone, you will be rewarded. Did I say I used to think Druids were the dysfunctional youth in A Clockwork Orange?
I thought tarot was this
I thought Hermetics were cosmetics especially made for this man
I thought these were Druids
Our celebratory song is a no-brainer for anyone who has read The Book of Paul.
– Bernie Dowling Last day of the week-long Book of Paul Blog
That was fun!