I thought I would like this book more than I did. It’s a comedy set in the Brixton Riots of the early 1980s, set around the adventures of a narcissistic poet called Lux. In a wonderfully creative mix of storylines, a whole array of other characters run around in Brixton in the chaos of the riots, most of them exasperated at Lux for one reason or another.
Most of all I liked the story of Kalia, who was expelled from heaven after being falsely accused of organising a coup against the gods, and has been condemned to do a million acts of kindness before she can get back in – except that Yasmin, working for the evil person who really organised the coup, thwarts her in every lifetime and gives her good deeds really bad consequences.
Of course it’s a completely, deliberately unrealistic story, pure fantasy. That’s fun for a while, but the trouble is that if nothing feels believable, including the characters, then everything rests on the comedy aspect and, for me, it just wasn’t funny enough. It was clever, and it made me smile a few times in appreciation, but I didn’t laugh out loud. And so without characters or a plot to follow, without real laughs to keep me going, all I had was appreciation for the cleverness of the writing and the zany creativeness of the plot. It was alright, but for me it wasn’t really enough.