30.9.12

Peter Carey - Bliss

Rating 6.0

How to Spoil a Good Plot Wittingly or Not a dissertation in form of a novel titled Bliss by Peter Carey.

Take a great idea. The apparent death and unexpected resuscitation of the main character would do.
The main character thinking that he actually died, went to Hell and that his own life after-resuscitation is just a day to day performance set up by demonic-characters impersonating his family and friends sounds perfect.

Now, this is definitely something. And if you add up that the main character writes down notes comparing the differences between the people he knew before his stroke with those he now believes are performing their roles, the plot you have it's just great with a hint of absurdity.

What Mr Author, needs first and foremost is to spoil a good plot. And that's precisely what Peter Carey does for the remaining two thirds of the book with the occasional good idea or brilliant sentence interfering with his purpose.

How he did it?
Oh well, it's actually quite easy. Just take the absurd element to an extreme level, introducing madness, manias of persecution and some deranged characters flirting with lost ambitions, homeopathy, alcohol abuse and - why not? - drugs.
Then leave behind untouched all the potentially good subplots you started at the beginning of the novel. Just focus on the madness of the main character and his clumsy need of redemption while in a psychiatric hospital led by a crew of psychopaths.

Don't forget to forget mentioning Hell again as the same quality of your prose will lead the irritated readers straight into the infernal abyss leaving them quite confused and with an unbearable urge to put the book aside.

Well done, Mr Carey. You made it!
Bliss is just ready to be read and, most likely, heavily misunderstood for a decent novel. I repeat: this book is nothing of that sort but the crafty disguise of a masterful dissertation titled How to Spoil a Good Plot. Wittingly or not.

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