A novella of only 100 pages, this book manages to pack in all the fury, despair, disgust and frustration of the writer as he views the disaster that is present-day UK. Referencing Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, the opening lines describe how the Prime Minister is transformed into a cockroach, which does nothing to stop him implementing policies which are obviously flawed, not to mention, ridiculous. Does Brexit come to mind? The President of the US is backing him with an equal measure of ignorance and dismissal of proper process and legal constraints. It is truly a wonder to his readers the way McEwan can write exactly what so many of us are thinking and despairing over in so few words.
As this is the last for the year, my thoughts on the books of 2019. The most important, “No friend but the Mountains” exposing the plight of the refugees on Manus; the most enjoyable, “Too Much Lip” by Indigenous writer, Melissa Lucashenko (which also won the Queensland Premiers Literary Prize last week). Books by the bed for the holiday period by Christos Tsiolkas and Julian Barnes, resolution for the new year, read only Indigenous writers for one week out of every four, and only buy Australian books as presents for friends. Enjoy your own holiday reading!