AL Kennedy - The Blue Book (3 stars)

Surreal drama from the talented comic/author

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AL Kennedy - The Blue Book

(Jonathan Cape)

Her first novel since 2007’s Day, celebrated Scots miserablist AL Kennedy’s sixth full-length work of fiction attempts to mess with readers’ minds in a way that few other authors might dare. The Blue Book is laced with cryptic wordplay and magic numbers and has an audacious habit of analysing the reader through the fourth wall as it unravels its tale of two former fraudster mediums and on-off lovers trying to make sense of their deeply complex relationship aboard an Atlantic cruise ship.

Beth has fled the psychic life but can’t quit Arthur, her enigmatic former partner-in-crime, who has attempted to right previous wrongs by fleecing rich people to subsidise free psychic healing for society’s vulnerable. Their twisted lives and the indulgent prose with which Kennedy elucidates them are near-impossible to get a grip on and the plot never gets up a full head of steam. But if a strange romance with a head-spinning twist sounds like it might work for you, you’ll probably love this book.

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