Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Passport or Reisepaß?

The idea is, some might say, grotesque. But the two million subjects of Her Majesty who are resideint in EU countries are inevitably asking themselves about the consequences of a vote to leave the Union.

In my own case, as a long-time resident of Germany I benefit from a German pension and Bavarian welfare support, the monthly payments now my sole income. If a passport swap were needed to maintain these revenues, then so be it… I would still claim to be by nationality Scots!

Still a voracious reader of fiction and with these issues very much in mind I have of late looked for books in which the EU is the villain of the piece! My search has resulted in some most unusual evening sessions with my Kindle.

“I retired a couple of years ago after a stint of 40+ years as a patent attorney, during which time I wrote non-fictional legal documents.” So says Ivan Cotter in an interview following the publication of his novel The Schmetterling Effect.

“So far possibly the the worst book I've read this year. I will persevere a little longer but not sure how much more I can take of the pathetic dialogue.” A Goodreads reviewer was most unkind.

In my opinion Cotter’s writing is constrained by his experience of authoring the kind of documents required of a patent lawyer. His novel reads like a dry protocol of events in the lives of characters who are woefully under-developed. The dialogue is indeed atrocious. Frankly it was only my determination to see how the intricate but extremely bizarre plot would be resolved that kept me with his story to the end.

The Fall of Night by Christopher G. Nuttall comes from the pen of a prolific Scottish writer who specializes in science-fiction and alternative history.

“Let me be blissfully brief - something Nuttall did not quite manage. The book reads like a political manifesto.” Another Goodreads verdict.
At the time of posting I have not finished what promises to be a long read! Set in 2024, Nuttalls narrative posits a dystopia, which is not without plausibility, with the EU in pitiful disarray. It seems to me a well-crafted and well-written story fitting the ‘military adventure’ niche genre. It does not (yet) seem to me a ‘manifesto’, although I don’t doubt that Nuttall’s own politics are further to the right than my own.

Cotter is informed by an Irish background. Nuttall is a Scot. The third book in my EU-centric collection is by another Celt, Andrew Marr. The first novel Head of State by the eminent BBC pundit deals with next year’s EU referendum. As did I, Marr attended Dundee High School and I feel entitled to expect from him, as behoves a well-educated Dundonian, a competent political thriller.

“Gave up on page 67 after literally nothing showed up by way of a plot.” The uncharitable verdict of another Goodreads reviewer.

Oh dear! Maybe I should search further, look for other writers taking the flawed and menaced EU as their theme. Not Celts… perhaps English authors. Or German?  

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