‘Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project.’ They’re in the prime of their lives but our bright young things are all burnt out. Six sparky twenty-somethings just out of university and working dead-end jobs, they are all bored to tears with their lives and looking for a way out. When a mysterious job is advertised in the newspaper, they all apply. What they least expect is to find themselves prisoners on a deserted island. There’s food in the fridge and they have a bedroom each, but there’s no telephone, no television, and no way to escape.
About the Author:
Scarlett Thomas is an English author and teacher at Kent University as well as Dartmouth Community College, South East Essex College and the University of East London. She has written several novels, including “The End of Mister Y” and her latest work published in 2012 is about great story telling (“Monkeys with typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories”). She also reviews books for the Literary Review, the Independent on Sunday, and Scotland on Sunday.
That’s sweet: I do not really know where to start. This book has taken me in completely even though nothing really happens in it. Three men and three women all in their mid-twenties have applied for a mysterious job. They all arrive at the job interview at the same time, however suddenly wake up on a deserted island.
All six of them do not really have anything loose in the “real” world therefore are not too bothered at first. Against all odds they start bonding over chatting about everything and nothing: TV shows, gaming, their degrees and of course sex. Bit by bit you realise their biggest fears have brought them on this island, but will they overcome them and leave?
I suspect this story is a little like Marmite: You either love it or loathe it. It is set in 1999 therefore the characters are a little younger than me and what they are talking about is stuff that would have been interesting for at the same age. I wonder if it would be interesting for you if you are older or younger though.
The whole book lives of the characters: They are surprising. None of them are a cliches even though Scarlett Thomas makes you expect cliches at first. So do the characters and are pleasantly surprised when they find out that the at first a little stupid appearing young man has a degree in chemistry and the really cool appearing girl actually cares about them.
They share their views about life at the end of the last century and what they can expect to achieve in life. And that seems to be little enough. They all have a traumatic experience of some sort to hide and all of them have found a way to deal with it. More or less successful that is.
I found all of them to be pretty realistic in a scenario which is entirely silly and unrealistic but great literature is like that sometimes.
That stings: Some of the conversations are a little long winded and it has an open end. Even though that does not really sting in my opinion (just had to put something here you know…). The story would have lost a lot of its charm if you would find out what will happen.
And the honey of it all? The best book I have read in a long while. One that makes me want to read more from Scarlett Thomas and one I will read again and again (one reason being I have been really, really late with starting the book and hurried through it a little 😉 ). This is a book worth reading if you are interested in the development of characters and delving deep into their fears and experiences. If you are rather interested in action this book is not for you I am afraid.
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