Thursday, September 12, 2013

'Boxer, Beetle' by Ned Beauman

12 September 2013

Having been so bowled over by Ned Beauman’s novel ‘The Teleportation Accident’ (reviewed here in July 2013) I quickly got hold of his first novel ‘Boxer, Beetle’ (which I have just read as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Dudley Hinton). The two books have much in common – a cast of grotesque characters, a fascination with Nazi Germany, a big country house, a rare and extremely peculiar illness, a jigsaw-puzzle plot with a ridiculous number of underlying themes and some great comic set-pieces. And, as with ‘The Teleportation Accident’, Beauman’s writing is delicious and rich in elaborate metaphors. Reading the two books in reverse order ‘Boxer, Beetle’ feels like a practice ground for what would become the later, greater novel but it is still incredibly enjoyable with a macabre humour that makes you both laugh and cringe. The country house murder mystery at the heart of the book reminded me of Jonathan Coe’s ‘What a Carve Up’ but Ned Beauman’s is a unique voice and I can’t wait to see what he writes next.



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