Tristan Quinn

Design – Flawed Life

The Worms Can Carry Me to Heaven

By

Jonathan Cape 390pp £11.99 order from our bookshop

Alan Warner has produced a searing, if flawed, post-millennial novel about dying and the consequences of knowing that life is ending sooner than it should. In his self-consciously pre-millennial 1989 novel, London Fields, Martin Amis paralleled the slow, knowing deaths of his narrator Sam and his protagonist Nicola Six with a growing sense of planetary disintegration and universal doom. ‘We used to live outside history. But now we’re all coterminous’, he wrote. Here Warner keeps the focus firmly on the personal history of his narrator Lolo Follano, a successful forty-year-old Spanish designer who lives alone and who, without any warning, is told by his doctor that he is HIV-positive. It is not coincidental that Lolo wrote his degree thesis on theories of design flaw. As he mulls over the minute details of his life and loves, Lolo gradually becomes an alienated figure, isolated from the future being constructed all around him. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,