the book

by uzwi

Much of the book’s humour would be referential. All of its humour would be black. If you didn’t get black humour, or didn’t approve of it on ideological grounds, the book wouldn’t be for you. The book would be wry, with a broadly ironic self-presentation. If you didn’t get irony, or didn’t approve of it on ideological grounds, or if you were making a bad faith public pretence of not understanding irony or being disapproving of irony on ideological grounds, the book wouldn’t be for you. It goes without saying that the book wouldn’t ask you to identify with the characters, or like any character more than another character, or regard any of them as a role model for the reader.

One of the central issues of the book would be middle class explanatory collapse in the UK. The book would be constructed so that the reader wasn’t insulated from the consequences of that. The reader wouldn’t be able to avoid, but would have to share in, the characters’ failure to understand the things that were happening in the fictional “world” around them. The remarkable similarity of this world to ours would encourage the reader to get a clue and stop denying their own situation.

Genre: though the book would not be generically frameable, it might be described as a scumble of sci fi, the Weird and literary fiction. But while it would make reference to those genres, the book would not be influenced by or derived from them. It would be referential, or allusive. You would be able to think of that aspect of the book as commentary. It would be a book describable as meta, or having a terraced awareness of itself, or having its tongue in its cheek. It would be describable as invading, at will, unannounced & whenever it felt like it, the territories of other genres or modes or registers. But it would not in any way belong to those genres, modes or registers.

The book would make equally teasing, equally conscious reference to psychogeography, landscape writing, heritage writing and hauntology, though none of those genres would be central to it either. If you were a reader who took everything at face value–or who made a bad faith pretence of taking everything at face value–and who preferred to confine each reading-act inside the frame of a single genre, you would probably do better to read something else.

The book would not be folk-horror.

Discounting this book’s interest in the psychic structures & contemporary repressed tragedies of alienation, dissociation, loneliness & paranoia under contemporary politics would render it empty, so that you would easily be able to pass it off later as beautifully written–although you wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you meant by that–but confusing and without content; perhaps as the work of a writer’s writer. You would be able to argue that because it did not visit your favourite kind of generic subject matter, it didn’t therefore have any subject matter at all. The author of the book would not be able to help extract anyone from that position. Anyone in that position would have to examine their readerly episteme and perhaps ask if, in this or any other case, it was fit for purpose. That kind of self-rescue would be their only option if they wanted to be able to read the book.