Monday, 1 August 2011

Nirvana Bites - Debi Alper

It is difficult to write a comic novel that deals with serious issues. Debi Alper succeeds magnificently. This is because the comedy grows naturally from the characters and the situation.

At heart this is a thriller, with Jen, desperate for a job, drawn into finding out just who has it in for Stan. Stan is a BBC executive and spouse of a Tory MP. He also has a secret life. And someone is determined to expose that and cause as much pain along the way to anyway who tries to thwart them.

As such, this is about people who live on the fringe - those who choose to be there and those who have no choice; all trying their best to get by. But those on the fringes are often prey to the psychopaths and morally righteous (the ones who preach decency with a big stick in their hand).

But whilst this is a moral story, it is not a moralising story. This world is expertly explored through the medium of the story. We meet interesting and thoroughly believable characters along the way. And, something of a rarity these days, it is well written - lively, intelligent, emotionally engaging, well constructed, with a satisfying conclusion that nonetheless left me wanting more.