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Poor Things

If someone were to ask me about this read, I would automatically shout out SCREWY IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY!

The sheer enormity of subject matter crammed between covers is formidable, including politics, ethics, love, religion, existentialism, medicine, sex, science…

And then there is the language. Oooooooh the language!

Written with the rhythm of a chain smoker and the obsessive love of a logophile, the reader is gifted with bonbons such as the ones below:

A whole quarter century of my life has vanished crash bang wallop. So the few wee memories in this hollow Bell tinkle clink clank clatter rattle clang gong ring dong ding sound resound resonate detonate vibrate reverberate echo re-echo around this poor empty skull in words words words words wordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswords that try to make much of little but cannot. (page 61, beginning on line 25)


You grew up on a farm! Was your dad a frugal swain tending his flocks on the Grampian hills or a ploughman homeward plodding his weary way? Tell tell tell your Bell Bell Bell. I am a collector of childhoods since that collision destroyed all memory of my own. (page 50, beginning on line 4)

There is an UGH factor and repulsive vein running through the story as well which simultaneously disgusts and fascinates.

I ate with Baxter at a huge table, sitting as far away from him as possible. Having little or no pancreas he made his digestive juices by hand, stirring them into his food before chewing and swallowing. When I asked about the ingredients he evaded the question in a shamefaced way which suggested some were extracted from his bodily wastes. The odour at his end of the table confirmed this. (page 72, beginning on line 13)

Contradiction and argumentation further enriches the read.

Only bad religions depend on mysteries ,just as bad governments depend on secret police. Truth, beauty and goodness are not mysterious, they are the commonest, most obvious, most essential facts of life, like sunlight, air and bread…The universe keeps nothing essential from us—it is all present, all gift. God is the universe plus mind. (page 100, beginning on line 10) Utter blethers Baxter! Mysteries endanger us, support us, destroy us. Our great scientists have cleared away these mysteries in some directions by deepening them in others.

What can I say but….

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There is this memory of small clasped hands and earnest whispering into the void. Please feed those without food, give a home to those without one and make those that are afraid not be afraid anymore.


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