Two London-themed books published this spring, although different in almost everything, from jacket design to word count, can be read in the same subversive spirit. 1948, a monstrous haggard face casting a sinister shadow on its cover, is easily recognised as a parody of Orwell’s most famous work. More precisely, it is an inversion, where a dystopia becomes a utopia, heroes and villains swap places, while the 1948 Olympiad is contrasted with the forthcoming games. The dramatis personae include Winston Smith, a policeman, O’Brien, his boss, Julia, his girlfriend; there is even a fleeting appearance of one Eric Blair. The story is a political farce, a whodunnit which culminates in a massive Two Minutes Joy at Wembley.
Anna Aslanyan reviews 1948: A Novel in Verse & Acquired for Development by… A Hackney Anthology.