DBC Pierre - Lights out in Wonderland (3 stars)

DBC Pierre - Lights out in Wonderland


The third novel from Booker-winner DBC Pierre promises vivid, unthinkable decadence, but delivers a self-absorbed quarter-life crisis. Chronicling the alleged end days of suicidal pamphleteer Gabriel Brockwell – wannabe miscreant, anti-capitalist zealot and an unwittingly droll ‘compulsive philosopher’ – Lights out in Wonderland unravels via modern-day London, Tokyo and Berlin, as our hapless 25-year-old protagonist tries to score a final night of sin. His endeavours, however, are thwarted by a poison blowfish, an incarcerated chef and a generally serpentine plot that is studded with drugs, revelations and diamonds.

It’s a colourful tale, if a bit overblown – Pierre’s culinary imagination is particularly fertile – and while not especially original or profound, the ‘poet’ Brockwell’s earnest footnotes on hangovers and energy are modestly enlightening. There’s a vaguely teenage diary feel about the book’s confidential narrative (see Brockwell’s comparison of his hair with the ‘dying wave of capitalism’) making this strangely akin to Adrian Mole feigning Hunter S Thompson.


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