Austin Clarke
(Thomas Allen Publishers)
We all want more, living according to our collective, out-of-control consumerist impulse. The spongy social fabric of individuals who want nothing more than to soak up money, materials and social-status credits wraps itself around, and squeezes, Idora. She's the Barbadian single mother living in Toronto, whose four disorienting days of worry for her missing son BJ, herself (how to fit in with friends, how to survive financially), recrimination of "that man" (her runaway husband Bertram) and an overall existential angst drives Austin Clarke's new novel, More, which made the Giller Prize long list (but not the short list, announced on Tuesday). Idora sits in judgment of society, but also yearns to be a part of it---a universal conflict or contradiction that will likely result in divergent judgments of the character herself. More is a book of longing and of delirium. Naturally, thoughts are associative, layered, dense and even jumbled. They spring forth in Idora's mind in such (seemingly) benign settings as the subway or bus---core samplers of our cities' cultures. Narrative voice switches rapidly from third to first person and back again, with words, images and ideas spilling over the page. While some may panic in the writer's wake, others will go with the flow.
Sean Flinn
type: book

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