British novelist Millar offers up another nutty slice of interconnected lives in this tale of a lovelorn poet's quest for love. As London's Brixton riot rages, Lux, a 17-year-old vagabond poet waiting for fame to find him, dodges fire bombs, police and an awful thrash metal band as he searches for Pearl, who he is in love with, though she "doesn't care for him all that much." She's fleeing the melee with her lesbian lover Nicky, who suspects her bosses at Happy Science are scheming to artificially inseminate her. Meanwhile, Kalia, an expelled angel trying to work her way back into heaven, moves through the ages performing good deeds as devil incarnate Johnny seeks to undo them. Their converging stories, minced together in a quick, Spartan prose, offer laughs and, finally, some touching insights into life's trajectory. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Robbie Johnston
Set during the 1985 Brixton race riots, this story follows many characters, including the titular Lux. Lux has the body of Lana Turner and the face to match, but his poetry is terrible. Completely absorbed in himself, Lux is out of touch with the world around him, reading his poetry to whoever will listen and having sex with whoever will not. In a cocaine-induced haze, he sets out to find Pearl, the girl he loves, who is lost somewhere in the riot. Along the way he meets Kalia, a fallen angel who must perform one million good deeds to return to Heaven and prove that she was framed. Pearl, somewhere in the melee, is helping Nicky, who murdered her only friendher computer. Unbeknownst to Nicky, her computer held very important information, so Happy Sciences PLC, her former employer, is searching for her so they can implant the sperm of geniuses into beautiful women. Released originally in Millar's native Britain in 1989, this repackage is the United States debut. The setting, however, will be unfamiliar to teens and adults alike, causing overall confusion. Further adding to the chaos, the book is written in third-person present tense and switches points of view frequently, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. The characters are shallow and self-absorbed, the plot is muddled, and sex, drugs, and violence run rampant. It is, perhaps, a good purchase for fans of Millar's work, but overall it is a niche novel without much substance or redeeming quality. Reviewer: Robbie Johnston
A drug-addled poet undertakes an epic journey during the 1981 Brixton riots. There's no denying that Scottish absurdist Millar (Lonely Werewolf Girl, 2007, etc.) is an uncommon voice in the wilderness of fantasy novelists. This book, originally published in the United Kingdom in 1988, offers plenty of fun for a retro period farce. Our hero is 17-year-old Lux, who's not your typical hero. He looks "something like a cross between a scarecrow and Lana Turner, if Lana Turner had red and yellow hair standing in a jagged bush two feet off her head and the scarecrow topped its ragged old coat with a face of extreme girlish beauty, bearing a little piratical scar over its left eye." This wildly narcissistic rake is in search of his lost love Pearl, a renegade filmmaker on the run with Nicky, a computer expert and refugee from a deviant experiment by Happy Science PLC to impregnate beauty queens with the seed of geniuses. Among the parties after our fair-haired hero are his gay flat mates Patrick and Mike, furious that Lux has appropriated their lubricant as a hair product, and the Jane Austen Mercenaries, from whom Lux has stolen demo tapes and massive amounts of drugs. Luckily, Lux has the support of Kalia, exiled from heaven for 3,000 years but still determined to protect her idiot charge long enough to perform the one million acts of kindness required to earn redemption. Millar spins a fascinating past life for Lux and Kalia involving the former's latent talent as a perfume guesser in 12th-century Japan, not to mention a prescient war between computer firms and an unusual quest for glory on the part of his peculiar but oddly charismatic hero. A welcome supplement from an underrated artist.