The Weird Colonial Boy

Paul Voermans, Author
Paul Voermans, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $25.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-575-05325-0
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-575-05715-9
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Readers of Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers Guide series should find enjoyment in Voermans's charming, albeit quirky, second novel (after And Disregards the Rest ). Others will be at least diverted by the author's individuated perspective--a slant made more unfamiliar by the frequent Australian slang and phraseology. In the novel's intriguing, if rather Anglocentric, alternate world, England never broke from the Catholic Church, and the Industrial Revolution never occurred. (This mise-en-scene includes several improbabilities, but this is, after all, a novel of perception rather than one focused on reality.) Protagonist Nigel Donohoe--from the ``real'' world--who discovers this fictive landscape because of a rare tropical fish, longs, ``like the inventor of the silicone breast, to change the shape of the world.'' Despite occasional ponderous phrasings (generally interpretable in context) and puzzling linguistic curiosities, Voermans succeeds through sheer dint of style in interesting the reader in Nigel's adventures, which include doing time in prison, performing in an impromptu street theater and leading one of the strangest bands of vigilante highwaymen ever assembled. (Apr.)
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