Ian Critchley

On the Road

The Parade


Hamish Hamilton 192pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Ever since he burst onto the literary scene in 2000 with his extraordinary ‘fictionalised memoir’, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers has produced a body of work that resists easy categorisation. His fiction has encompassed subjects as diverse as the financial crisis (A Hologram for the King), the brave new tech world of Silicon Valley (The Circle) and the civil war in Sudan (What Is the What). His latest novel is stylistically different again – a short, fable-like narrative set in an unnamed country – but it does share many of the concerns of its predecessors, not least in its focus on how Western society, whether knowingly or not, forces its cultural and financial influence on those with fewer resources.

It begins with a man waking on a plastic mattress in a converted shipping container. This is Four and he soon meets his new colleague, Nine. The company they work for insists on anonymity, a security precaution in case they are kidnapped. Without names, the men will be of little value to hostile forces, who would not be able to trace their employers or their families.

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

    • 'Since Dylan’s commercial and ideological heyday, the intrusion of sociology, semiology and post-structuralist thou… ,
    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,