Little Green Man by Simon Armitage

From: Ben
Category: Books
Date: 19 November 2001


A first novel, the kind my friends are busy writing. A gimmick – dares and challenges for a childhood treasure The full suet set of characters – the author’s friends, the cynic’s eye on em, lacking depth A chance to write about the author’s life (with a more pzazz and crackle; that’s thanks to your gimmick).

A lead character – aimless common man, poetic dashes from somewhere unexplained His friends are cardboard nowhere men His son, autistic His wife, estranged We’ll be charitable; be seen through a haze of depression and disconnection (otherwise just a bit lacking).

Challenges are set and achieved, family background sketched in. It’s a page turner, a self-centred thriller. Darkness beckons. Half time. He bores of the game. Calls time early. The friends were in league, the contest a childish hoax.

Your man faces up to the death of his brother The memories and subbuteo sets of his childhood are thrown away Tumbling beautifully off a cliff.

In a men’s magazine, I read a good line “when I became a man, I put away childish things. But as I was putting them away I thought ‘hey, some of these are really good!’” That’s what this book is about. In a poem, he’s good, he’s sharp Muhammed Ali, he floats and punches, he knows his voice.

In the narrative form, falls awkwardly between clever-clever and just smart. Not overextended, but lacking a firm footing.

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