Thursday, September 6, 2012
Review of We are the Hanged Man by Douglas Lindsay (Blasted Heath, 2012)
In We are the Hanged Man Lindsay mercilessly satirises reality television to great effect. At points the story appears to hang on a comic flight of fantasy, but as unlikely as parts of the premise seemed somewhat paradoxically they also felt wholly plausible given the pervasive and intrusive nature of reality television and how society is presently governed. Indeed, the story is very nicely plotted, thickly laced with dark humour, with a little bit of everything thrown in - drama, intrigue, humour, mystery, tension, romance. It has some wonderful observational touches, played out through some excellent dialogue and scenes. The characterisation is very well done, especially the reluctant and gloomy Jericho, his bitchy and resentful boss, the ambitious and morally bankrupt television producers, and the celebrity-seeking contestants of dubious character and abilities. There are a number of feints and twists and turns, and the story builds to a dramatic climax that has a satisfying resolution whilst also leaving the way open for a follow-on book. A sign of a great book is that the reader is always looking to create time to read a few more pages and as they near the end there’s a palpable sense of disappointment that the story will soon end. We are the Hanged Man was one of those books and it’s my read of the year so far.