Posted 20 hours ago

The Book of Dave

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Exploring the highs and lows of his administration, from his brush with disaster over the Scottish question and his humiliation over Syria to his surprise election victory in 2015 and his controversial win on gay marriage, this fully updated edition offers a comprehensive assessment of Cameron’s legacy in office, weighing up the extraordinary achievements of Britain’s youngest Prime Minister for 200 years.

For example, the "Hamsters", the inhabitants of the island of Ham (actually the higher, unflooded part of Hampstead Heath), believe that certain verses out of the book are sacred "hymns", where in fact they are just excerpts from The Knowledge. Often Self, as a moralist, can come across as too lecturing at times, although this book has been designed as a weary portent of what might happen to the world should people continue to behave as they do at present, subtitled a Revelation of Recent Past and Distant Future. The prose in all Self texts is an unflinching tapestry of experimental wordplay, erudite phraseology and relentless poetic wonderment, woven with a stoical third-person narrative voice which is unafraid to diffuse the loftiness of his intention with a sprinkling of earthbound humour. Black cabbies are easy to caricature, and Self’s achievement here, amid the satirical fireworks, is to make Dave not only human but capable of redemption. A young male 'Hamster', Symun Devush, explores a forbidden area of the island and emerges claiming that he has discovered a second Book of Dave that repudiates the tenets of the first.The present-day characters speak a phonetic cockney that frequently has to be read aloud (at least in your head) to understand it.

The present-day story is full of brutally honest descriptions of unsympathetic characters, foolish decisions and bad luck. Some of the things he has opinions about are black people and Asians, Moslems, Jews and homosexuals.Hundreds of years into the future, people discover a ranting book written by a disturbed present-day bigot, and model their lives around the ‘truths’ it contains. Although Dave is a sympathetic character and we root for him, it begins to be clear throughout the novel that he was also abusive towards his wife and son. Five hundred years later, the Book of Dave is discovered, where it becomes a sacred text of biblical proportions.

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