Book review by Anthony Campbell. Copyright © Anthony Campbell (2004).
Truss is a writer with a very individual outlook on life. This novel centres on the theme of double identity; several of the characters have doubles, and the one we meet first, Belinda, is a writing a book about literary doubles. She poaches a house help from a friend and this sets the story going. The house help, who is named, significantly, Linda, progressively takes over the running of Belinda's household and then her life, appearing instead of her in television chat shows and elsewhere. Finally she replaces Belinda completely and has her baby instead of her. All this admirably suits Belinda, who isolates herself upstairs and spends her time not writing and putting on weight by eating chocolate. Meanwhile Belinda's husband, ostensibly a Swedish genetics scientist, is found not to be what he appears and the doubles theme recurs here, in a more complicated form. Other characters similarly turn up in duplicates, and this is sometimes reflected in their names (Noel, Leon). The action shifts between Sweden and England.
Truss, it is clear, enjoys teasing the reader and the novel is far from naturalistic. Indeed, horrific events, including a murder, take place but they are treated in a facetious way and don't detract from the general jokiness of the tone. You don't care much about any of the characters and the action is at times far-fetched to the point of incredibility, but if you are prepared to suspend disbelief the book is entertaining enough and works quite well in its own idiosyncratic terms.
13 January 2004
%T Going Loco
%A Lynne Truss
%I Review (Headline Book Publishing)
%G ISBN 0-7472-2157-X
%P 244 pp
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