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TOMAS - by some millionaire who can't write to save his life   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Sunday, 16 August 2009

language as a blunt hammer to smash his way to a narrative closure, with the precision of cannons, and the dexterity of an elephant.



The Title is the most clear indication if the book is any good. A medicore title reflects the paucity of imagination within, and the title of Tomas informs me nothing and little of the work, or its theme.

I've been busy trying to justify the existence of this book in my mind, and I can't see any. It's not that it's bad, by any standard : it isn't. Nor is it particularly good. In fact, overall, it is mediocre. I'm inclined to suggest that were the author not the driving force behind the Ministry of Sound with an Eton education nobody would've looked at this thoroughly average work twice.

Reading like a somewhat stunted impersonation of Will Self, devoid of anything much but episodic fragments, “Tomas” is about as imaginative as the title : overall a gross and impossible tale of unrecognisable excess that can only seem plausible if you've ever spent most of your time either impossibly rich, or indelibly poor – that is, removed from the median reality for a lot of people. Still, a novel squeezed out between running a multi-million pound business empire may very well feel rushed. And Will Self should consider suing for stylistic plagarism, much as Tom Waits did.

Possibly the most disappointing element of this work, and by jove, it is hard work to read, is the thoroughly pedestrian use of language and structure. There seems no evidence whatsoever that this is anything but a first draft. Sentences are constructed with no understanding of the dramatic tension and release of construction, no underlying linguistic understanding, and a thorough tired, ennui. The plot progresses smothered ina dull storytelling style that reads very much like an seven year old's “What I Did On My Summer Holiday When Dad Took Me To Ibeefa” :

...'and then this fat sweaty man came and order big champagne and dance and his willy fell out' to paraphrase the first chapter.

A good book is not just the message, but the medium, and the skill of it. The Mona Lisa isn't the world's greatest painting because it shows a woman smiling, but how it is done. (Actually, it isn't the world's greatest painting at all, but let's let that one slide for now). “Tomas” is very much a debut novel, and not just a ordinary debut but an exceptionally ordinary debut : probably the first novel ever written, by an author who grapples language as a blunt hammer to smash his way to a narrative closure, with the precision of cannons, and the dexterity of an elephant.

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