THIS IS A bitter, violent, grippingly gloomy book about contemporary Britain: its media, its religious leaders, its weather - it doesn't stop raining till the last page - and just about everything else which catches the author's savagely mischievous eye. No one and nothing is out of bounds. The dome of St Paul's Cathedral is described as 'this great voluptuous tit defiantly erect and randy on Ludgate Hill'; and on page 477 the reigning monarch her self is presented in language so intemperate that in olden times the author would have been beheaded before his ink had dried. There are times, especially in the opening chapters, when the story seems written in a one-dimensional vernacular foul to the ear and characterised by exclamation marks and words in capital letters. On page 47, we hear 'the squelch of may0 on iceberg' as a horrible, embattled newspaper tycoon indulges in yet another bit of comfort snacking. Three pages later, 'white public school arses' go up and down in a sexual context; and the capitalised c-word features even on the book's cover. What a joy it is when we eventually come upon a familiar, gentle A N Wilson-ish word like 'toddle'.
The central character and catalyst is a symbolic schzophrenic teenager besieged by unclean spirits, capable of speaking in many different voices - Murderous Moron, South London Kid, Bertie Wooster, Jeeves, Coldstream Major - and possessing no redeeming features other than an extraordinary personal beauty. His mother is a coquettish black