2 thoughts on “Underground with a very strange man

  1. There is one horrific incident which comes as a shock but you have caught the essence of the inner matter of fact tone contrasting with the life in the outer world. It is a weakness of the book that so much is given over to the mundane that the contrasting eccentricity first , then madness has little direction . Peter Sellers recorded a skit years ago in which he satirizes a Duke who visits his old dying gardener with a similar contrast pointing up the complete self absorption of the upper class visitor and its consequences for the poor . He is able to get around the difficulty caused by the constant inner focus of his character by using the listeners’ ironical awareness of the poverty in the scene and the Duke’s blindness to it to give a sense of this being part of a bigger picture opening out to the listener.
    Mick Jackson’s character lives in a world which conforms to his view of it and the details become oppressive and confining . A short story might have done the job better.

  2. I agree that much of Jackson’s novel wallows in the mundane, but I was more willing than you seem to be to attribute that to design rather than to weakness. Perhaps the point is that what seems wild insanity to us is both normal and commonplace to the affected person?

    Still, the extreme banality of much of the (non-)action does drag on, and the sometimes complete absence of dramatic tension was the main reason I rated the book as “good,” but no better.

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