Lights Out in Wonderland by DBC Pierre - review by Simon Baker

Simon Baker

Shoot Me Now

Lights Out in Wonderland


Faber 314pp £12.99

D B C Pierre’s third novel is narrated by Gabriel Brockwell, a depressed 25-year-old anti-capitalist protester who has decided to kill himself. At the beginning of the novel he checks out of a Priory-like institution (which his father had checked him into) and, after many lengthy moans about the state of modern Britain, embarks on a last odyssey, at the end of which he will do away with himself. He first flies to Tokyo to see a friend, Smuts, who is a chef. When Smuts ends up in jail for poisoning a customer, Gabriel flies to Berlin where, when not gorging on impossible quantities of booze and cocaine (from the effects of which he recovers instantly, like a cartoon character recovering from being blown to pieces), he tries to stage the biggest party in history in the vaults of Tempelhof Airport. The novel then gathers increasing pace as it heads towards a bacchanalian and surreal ending.

How one reacts to Lights Out in Wonderland will depend on how greatly one values character, believable dialogue and plot, all of which are missing here (leaping from one unlikely hedonistic episode to the next does not amount to a plot, just as bashing randomly on a piano

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RLF - March