An eighteen-year-old boy goes with his parents to the west coast of Ireland where, by chance, he witnesses terrorist gun-running activity. His father is involved with a local wildlife station where biologists are studying the causes of variations among birds. On the off-shore island where this research has centred, there are ruins of the cells in ...
An eighteen-year-old boy goes with his parents to the west coast of Ireland where, by chance, he witnesses terrorist gun-running activity. His father is involved with a local wildlife station where biologists are studying the causes of variations among birds. On the off-shore island where this research has centred, there are ruins of the cells in which hermits in the Dark Ages had come to live and survive. He returns to an English university where he has intended to study biology or literature but finds neither of these disciplines is much concerned with wider experience and returns to Ireland to try to discover - what those old hermits were looking for? On his first visit to Ireland he had fallen in love with the glimpse of a young girl who, it had seemed, might be involved with the gun-runners. When together they go to stay on the deserted island it becomes possible to imagine it as the mythical Garden of the Hesperides with its Tree of Life hung with golden apples.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-09 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) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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