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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Peter Carey - Bliss

Bliss - Peter Carey

"How to Spoil a Good Plot" a dissertation in form of a novel titled "Bliss" by Peter Carey.


Take a great idea. The apparent death and unexpected resuscitation of the main character would do.
Develop the aforementioned great idea a step forward. The main character thinking that he actually died, went to Hell and that his own life after-resuscitation is just a day to day performance set up by demonic-characters impersonating his family and friends sounds perfect.

Now, this is definitely something. And if you add up that the main character writes down notes comparing the differences between the people he knew before his stroke with those he now believes are performing their roles, the plot you have it's just great with a hint of absurdity.

But that's not the purpose of the dissertation you put your nose onto.
What Mr Author, needs first and foremost is to spoil a good plot. And that's what Peter Carey does for the remaining two thirds of the book.

How he did it? It's quite simple. Just put the absurd element to an extreme, introducing madness, manias of persecution and some deranged characters flirting with lost ambitions, homeopathy, alcohol abuse and - why not? - drugs.
Leave behind all the potentially good subplots you started at the beginning of the novel to focus on the madness of the main character and his clumsy need of redemption while in a psychiatric hospital.

Forget about mentioning Hell again as the same quality of your prose will lead the readers straight into the infernal abyss leaving them quite confused and with an unbearable urge to put the book aside.

Well done! "Bliss" is just ready to be read and, most likely, heavily misunderstood for a decent novel. I repeat: this book is nothing of that sort but the crafty disguise of a masterful dissertation titled "How to Spoil a Good Plot".