Jesse Armstrong, who was part of the team that wrote Peep Show and The Thick Of It, has had his first novel published by Jonathan Cape. It came out earlier this month, and my full review can be found over at Quadrapheme. A précis here, though: “Love, Sex, And Other Foreign Policy Goals” is a tale of a group of twenty-something activists who decide that the best thing they can do to stop the war in the Bosnia is to hire a minivan, write a peace play, and take it all the way to the Balkans, where they’ll perform it for refugees and soldiers. And this will somehow… Stop the war.
It should be very funny; unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to its own promise (or premise). Apparently the Guardian disagrees with me mightily, which is faintly alarming. In cases such as these, when the craft is so lacking and the writer is so successful elsewhere, I really wonder how much of the praise is contextual to other, better works. You can read my full review here.
Please comment below if you’ve read the book or (like my husband) have firsthand experience of the war. I’d love to see more discussion on this peculiar novel.