Sunday, March 13, 2005

12:Time to consult the salmon

Mr. Phillips is not at work today. I don't want to tell you why he's not at work, but you'll find out soon enough.

Instead, he's walking around London meeting different people, calculating the odds against various things happening (Mr. Phillips is an accountant) and thinking about sex. A lot. There is a lot of talk about sex in this book, and talk about closeness without there really being any closeness.

Some reviewers think of this as a slight book, mistaking Mr. Phillips' lack of a rich internal life as a shortcoming of the book, but I can't believe that. I don't know London well, but I was there with him every step of the way. I am not a fiftyish accountant, but I felt like I was looking out of his eyes. A writer this good has not omitted an internal life because he doesn't know what to say, he's left it out because there isn't one. Instead there are calculations and memories of bland conversations, fear of letting other people down, worry about one's family, a whole host of tiny things that go to build up a picture of a complete, if not very exciting, man.

I really enjoyed this book. It's very, very funny. It's a quick read but there's a lot to digest afterwards. Impressive.

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