Nicholas Mosley, Author . Dalkey Archive $13.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-56478-267-0

Mosley (Hopeful Monster) is known as a novelist of ideas, and his latest effort takes on evolution, chance, God and the Internet. An unnamed young man, 18 at the start of the novel, goes in 1998 with his father, a director of TV documentaries, and his mother (both unnamed) to a cottage on the west coast of Ireland. His father is there to verify a report that there's been some rapid evolutionary change among birds on the coast. His mother owns the cottage, which they discover is being used by the locals, perhaps for smuggling guns. The young man even witnesses a gun battle, presumably between the smugglers. Returning to England, he travels to Oxford, where he meets Edward Constantine, whose father, the wealthy Connie Constantine, has a mysterious interest in the unnamed boy; it's revealed that Connie had an affair with the boy's mother. Edward is obsessed by computers; he wants to bring down the Internet. The boy meets a feminist, Christina, and impregnates her, then goes back off to the cottage in search of whatever anchoritic delights might await him there. What he finds, however, is more romance and swashbuckling adventure. While the boy is presented as a contemporary teenager, Mosley has instilled in him the soul of some diffident Edwardian youth, rendering his thoughts in an affected style that verges on the ludicrous, as in: "I put my arm round Julie and pulled her towards me. I thought—We are like the clapper and the dome of a bell, reverberations from which go off to assist sailors." Such prose doesn't teeter on the edge of parody—it demands it. (July 15)

Reviewed on: 07/09/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
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