Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Genus by Jonathan Trigell

What is it about a dystopic world that appeals so much to me? I've always been fascinated by the self-destructive tendencies in people, societies and countries, so often personified by a flawed anti-hero. 

My favourite protaganists - Fight Club's Tyler Durden, Cosmopolis' Eric Packer, Genus' 'Gunt' Charles Bonnet - tend to inhabit such squalid, violent, oppressive worlds that are overcrowded and diseased-ridden; driven insane and putrid with equal measures of desperation and slow death. To me, these blokes are demi-gods and half-deities caving in on themselves with the clear realisation that death is their only path and destiny, they're man enough to 'see' truth not as beauty, but as seething, ugly, naked and wholly accepting of it. As Tyler Durden would put it, "First you've gotta know, not fear, know, that someday you're gonna die."

Genus is Jonathan Trigell's third novel. Set in future-London, society is mired in descension when the genetic/income/class-division widens between the Generich, the upper class who are bio-engineered to near perfection and the Unimproved, the dregs who are naturally conceived. The latter inhabit The Kross, an underworld of the disenfranchised that becomes the backdrop for a series of murders all involving Unimproved victims. This dystopic thriller interweaves the murder investigation with the backstories of a set of players from both sides as it culminates in revelations that are both sinister and disquietly apropos in our present times and conditions.

Some may fault Trigell's overt writing style as over-garnished with literary allusions and philosophical stuffing. But I enjoyed it wholly and have admiringly added Gunther Charles Bonnet to my list of favourite unforgettable "fuck-yeah!" male anti-heroes to worship, revere, venerate.

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