Saturday 3 March 2012
The Book Of Dave - Will Self
This is probably one of the most original dystopian books I have ever read. Such a fantastic idea, a whole world where the cab driver word is law and there is a whole religion based round it. The priests, called Drivers, even wear mirrors on their forehead so that they can see all that is behind them. I think that is one of the things that I loved about this book, it's originality.
I have to confess though that it did take some time for me to get into it. The book is written in chapters which alternate between present day and the future. Present day is easier to read but the future is written mainly in a dialect which mixes cockney and text. There is a glossary at the back but it doesn't cover everything. It's mainly for words that have been changed to fit in with the view of the cab driver. So it doesn't help all that much. As a result I did read two other books in between. This book really needs time devoted to it and I didn't have that when I first picked it up. I do worry though that anyone from outside the UK might have problems reading it. It would be a shame if that were the case because it really is a fantastic book.
Dave himself isn't the most likeable of characters. We aren't really meant to like him. He has natural obsessive tendencies. It started with cabbing and ended with his son to the extent that he wrote this book. He comes across as a bit of a slob and when seen through the eyes of his wife a little repulsive. He also has fits of rage which can end in violence. Not a man you could easily admire. Yet I felt so sorry for him. Clearly he had mental health issues for a long time and the health system failed him. Hi wife, whilst didn't deserve his treatment, was really the one who ruined his life. Mind you, if it hadn't been her it probably would have been something else. So whilst I didn't like him I felt so bad for him and hoped that he would get it together in the end.
As for the future world. It was certainly fascinating. I wouldn't say there was any particular character that I liked or disliked from that future. I must admit that I looked out more for the changes that were affected by Dave.
If you like a dystopian then I imagine you will like this. This one is certainly now high up on my list of favourites within that genre. Or if you just want to try something a little bit different then it's worth giving it a go.