Useful Idiots

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Jan Mark
Definitions: Random House
Oct 2005
Set in 2255 Useful Idiots establishes a future world of desolation, a world where much of Europe has been flooded and where the separate member States have, on the whole, united. Against the bleakest of backdrops comes the storm of the opening and with it the very fabric of the present is torn away exposing in gashed revelation a skull, a spectre of a sordid history whose passing has seen legend and fact becoming intertwined.

As with several facets of the book, characters are divided into two main groupings. These are the aborigines or, to use the novel�s slang, the �oysters�. The second set of characters are from the new united state of Europe. Political assimilation and corruption run rife and key players in the novel whilst believing they are acting for the best are pawns in a far greater game� they are the eponymous �Useful Idiots�.

This book fair crackles with mystery and intrigue! Jan Mark�s narrative is amazingly confident and self assured. The story is thought-provoking and explores a large number of issues, including federalism, nationalism, various philosophies of history and of reading the texts of the present in such a way as to glean information regarding potential pasts. The academic and scientific is juxtaposed with the social and with tradition in a manner that is sensitive and which shows sense! Useful Idiots is a microcosm of life, a myriad of world views.

Jan Mark displays her usual fairly maverick (though highly adept) approach towards making young people think and towards exposing them to large, often uncertain ideas. Syntax and diction alike are fairly complex in this work and at times are highly specialised. This combined with the relative size of the novel will doubtless prohibit it from ever becoming the �most popular� novel in the world. That said it is a highly engaging read and deserves to find a loyal readership.

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on January 17, 2006 12:11 PM.

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