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Jude in London by Julian Gough
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Jude in London (edition 2012)

by Julian Gough

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131723,089 (2.75)3
Member:pdej
Title:Jude in London
Authors:Julian Gough
Info:Old Street Publishing (2012), Paperback, 346 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, read

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Jude in London by Julian Gough

2016 (1) @6 (1) fiction (1) humor (1) Irish fiction (2) London (1) picaresque (1) R (1) read (1) satire (1) to-read (3)

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I bought this not realizing it was a sequel, but fortunately there is a kind of muddled explanation at the beginning of the book explaining what happened in the first volume. Not that it really cleared much up.

This is a novel in the picaresque tradition, which means that it is episodic and digressive and takes aim at the foibles of contemporary life through the eyes of a character whose fate is largely marginal to society as a whole (did I get that right?). It's a comic novel about an Irish orphan who follows his True Love to London while on a search for the Mystery of his Origins (yes, there are a lot of words in this book that are capitalized for supposed humorous effect). There is not much of a plot, which is to be expected, but the humor didn't fully succeed for me.

There are numerous references to Irish writers past and present (Becket, Joyce, Synge, Wilde, Flann O'Brien, Colm Toiban, etc.) as well as the State of the Novel more generally. Most of this I found tiresome and a bit cutesy. However, I did like the section near the end in which Jude inadvertently wins the Turner prize by taking apart the works of the past winners, such as making Tracey Emin's bed, fixing Martin Creed's blinking lights, and cleaning up Damien Hirst's trash.

While there are some amazingly funny set pieces in the novel, from my perspective about 75% of it is total garbage and isn't funny at all. But that might just be me. I don't generally like comic novels that are trying so hard to be funny; I guess I prefer a dry wit. There is nothing dry or subtle about this book. ( )
  sansmerci | Jul 13, 2016 |
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