Blake Morrison - The Last Weekend (3 stars)

Blake Morrison - The Last Weekend

(Chatto & Windus)

Blake Morrison is not one to shy away from the dark places, the unspoken or acutely personal, as his study of the James Bulger trial or bestselling confessional And When Did You Last See Your Father? will testify. In this, his third novel proper, he proposes a seemingly harmless late summer retreat and reunion for two middle-aged couples before pouring on rivalries, secrets and jealousy.

It is a heady and oppressive atmosphere that Morrison creates, feeding an indelible sense of impending doom. By bringing into question the reliability of his first person, he toys with notions of reality and subjectivity, self-interest and self-delusion, as ever unflinching in his examination of narcissistic thought and expedient deed. But for Morrison’s sometimes baffling, often distracting, forays into poetic simile, The Last Weekend is a brave, fiendish and thought provoking if uncomfortable read, and as such merciful in its brevity.

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