Honour is a brilliant read – and quietly clever too. The fast-moving plot will certainly appeal to thriller devotees – it’s a page turner and I defy anyone to read the opening chapter and not want to read on – and yet it’s unique in its treatment, with a storyline, characters and settings to appeal to a much wider audience than just thriller fans. The wonderful pace is aided by clean and spare prose, but with delicious playful touches to the language that lift it above and beyond other books in the genre. There is a lot of wit here and it is this, and the pace, which prevent the book’s subject matter from bogging the reader down in *issues*.
Short punchy chapters, several intermingling story strands, and a fabulous cast of characters populate an involving story about an honour killing in a western consumerist setting – who is the oppressor? Who is the oppressed? What exactly is honour? The story moves briskly along with a supple use of language and glorious black humour, flitting between fundamentalists with murderous intent, advertising executives with one eye on the bottom line and one scouting for the next bandwagon, and bored aristocratic wives with a penchant for rolling in the hay…
You’ll finish this book thinking you’ve read a great romping thriller. But then you’ll realise you read something far more than that – you read an extremely clever subtle observation of the world in which we live, where norms are learned and the lines drawn constituting Right and Wrong are not static, nor absolute.
A cracking read & top marks from me.
The Beauregarde Affair is a tale told by a natural raconteur. I would love to hear this serialised on radio, or done as an audio book read by the author. Memoirs in themselves can often be self-indulgent and fall foul of the “oh well, you’d understand if you’d been there” realm, but what Talgo has done here is to fictionalise the memoir slightly – and to do so with such a strong and compelling Voice that it’s surely impossible not to be drawn into this world of stoned misfits – and so, with the edges of Reality tinged with imagined romanticism and the tidying up of events, the whole thing comes together as the most wonderful story, polished and with witty afterthought and honed to perfection. What bits are true, what bits invented, who knows – but one thing for certain it’s a moreish tale of witty hedonistic indulgence that will touch the very soul of anyone who lived through that era and, indeed, I reckon I’ll be having flashbacks for years…
But it’s also a tale of friendships and, no matter the decade, these early bonds – those people with whom we choose to spend our formative years – define and remain with us for life and are not confined to one particular decade in time. And so I don’t think this is a story purely for the stone-heads of the seventies but is a story for anyone who’s ever shared digs with others during their carefree, egotistical party years.
And the snake. Oh how I love the snake… he is almost figurative (though I’m sure he existed!) in that he holds together this story of loves, losses, drunken misdemeanours and innate will to avoid Growing Up for as long as is humanely possible… only to reach his literary peak towards the end. What happens to the snake? You’ll have to read it to find out.
It’s bliss. I cannot recommend it highly enough. But please, Brian Talgo… can we have an audio version??