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by A P Wolf
published by Wrecking Ball Press
A 15-year-old British army brat's tenure in Singapore holds interesting possibilities, and the manic voice of an adult looking back at that coming-of-age adds to the anticipation, but this first novel never comes through with an actual story. The narrator's voice is entertaining enough, and the details of Singapore in the 1960s make this more than a typical account of adolescence. But the framed structure of the narrative is never fully explained, and finally the opposition of past and present contributes nothing to the reader's understanding of the protagonist. Although the narrator rarely showers, teenage girls offer themselves to him in quick succession. He also has a mysterious relationship with a powerful gangster who acts as his guardian angel, takes him to cockfights, then disappears from the book. An older brother gets into even more trouble than the narrator does and at one point is in such a bad scrape that the police come to their parents' house to report his death. By the time the narrator runs away from home to live in a deserted bunker with two dogs named Rape and Pillage, even his straightforward voice cannot salvage this rambling exercise.
- paperback: 160 pages
- product dimensions: 144 x 205 x 12 mm