The Fat of Fed Beasts (Paperback)Guy Ware (author)
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`Fleshing out the shadowy metaphysical hints of Beckett's novels, this intellectual romp is the best debut I have read in years' Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
Monday lunchtime: a bank is being robbed. The gunmen tell everyone to get down on the floor, but an old man refuses. Behind him in the queue is Rada Kalenkova, an investigator for the Office of Assessment, recording everything she sees. Shots are fired and a woman is killed. Or maybe two. But Rada ignores the murders and pursues the old man instead.
Nothing about the robbery or the putative killings makes sense. The robbers might be police. The bank manager denies anyone was hurt, despite the blood on the walls. Every subsequent enquiry leads towards Edward Likker, a renowned fixer. But Likker is dead.
The Fat of Fed Beasts is an ambitious literary mix of existential uncertainty, murder, bureaucracy, unreliable father figures and disaffected policemen. It asks why we do what we do, whether it matters, and what, if anything, our lives are worth. And it's funny.
`Ware has an uncluttered prose style and a willingness to stretch the boundaries of fiction. His sensibility is finely tuned to those grey areas of experience where identities shift, where people forget who they really are. No other writer springs to mind as a ready comparison to Ware: already he has defined a unique thematic territory.' Aiden O'Reilly, The Short Review
Publisher: Salt Publishing
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 384 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 14 mm
4/5 Rating. Alex, Rada, and D are `loss adjusters' - they deal with lives that have ended, reporting on the worth. Alex gets up later than D and Rada. He wanted to be with Rada but she chose Gary. D is sick of Rada's detailing and just completely sick of Alex, and hopes for better. Rada is in the bank when it's robbed, can't get the old man to lay on the floor and her following suspension leaves her aloof in the world. And then there are the demoted police who want to give something unlawful a try.* The Worm Hole *
Fleshing out the shadowy metaphysical hints of Beckett's novels, this intellectual romp is the best debut I have read in years.-- Nicholas Lezard * The Guardian *
But, this being a book set in 21st-century Britain, it is not only concerned with the fate of the soul and the nature of narrative, but also with guns, the ennui of daily life, minutely observed trivia and deep and dark matters; Quentin Tarantino is in the mix, as well as eschatology, the branch of theology concerned with the end of days. If you liked Tom McCarthy's Remainder, you'll love this. Guy Ware is also very good at black humour ("I've either got to actually hit someone or find some other way to calm myself down," says the most violent and yobbish of the narrators, "because if I go on like this, I'm going to make myself ill"), and corny humour: on being told that the first stage of grief, in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's formula, is denial, a character replies "No, it's not," which got a laugh from me at least. The result of all this is the best debut novel I have read in years. I am now going to polish my shoes.-- Nicholas Lezard * The Guardian *
The staff of the office are revealed as gatekeepers to the afterlife, setting up a neat reversal in which determining the resting place of recently departed souls is treated like any normal job - employees rock up late and use work computers for their own projects - while mundane tasks, such as making couscous salad, are addressed with scholastic intensity.-- Sam Kitchener * The Literary Review *
About halfway through the book, Ware sheds light on the mysterious title. The fed beasts are from the Book of Isiah, one of those bloodthirsty sections about offerings and livestock slaughter and so on. But Ware's disdain for the corporate world's overfed beasts is apparent but rendered with enough empathy and humour that it does not overbear this delightful book.-- Judith Sullivan * SHOTS Crime & Thriller Ezine *
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