Friday, October 30, 2009

James Lasdun: The Horned Man

This is one of the books my cousin sent me, and it is NOT a thriller. Which has sadly prejudiced me against it, because I thought it would be. The back of it is all "oooo a series of brutal killings", "as the novel spirals to its shocking conclusion" and the killings don't even get mentioned until half-way through, and the end shocked no-one.
A first-person narrative, we follow a professor of gender studies, who seems to be followed and set up by a former professor of the college he works at. Our professor Miller seems like a meekish, sane man of sound values, but as the book progresses we get hints that maybe he is not what he wants himself to be, or else he is indeed being hounded. The ending doesn't really clear it up for us. Is Miller mad? It's more Kafka-esque than anything else, with that slightly fantastical, dreamy air. Not really my thing, to be honest, but it was severely marred by my expectations of something more in the linear thriller line. If I'd ever heard about James Lasdun though I mightn't have been surprised.  To do it justice I might have to re-read it in a few years. In general though I'm not mad about this type of story at all.

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