:: Article

The Human War

Noah Cicero, The Human War, Snowbooks, 2007

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The Human War — a short book written as a combination of prose poetry/dialogue, which therefore gives each and every sentence an elaborate, rhythmic yet dissonant weight. This significance to each staccato line betrays the protagonist’s adolescent angst as a meagre hysterical rant that rebuffs the reader’s close attention (perhaps intentionally), whilst mirroring the narrator’s alienation.

However, this is a tired existential nonsense, and I dispute the lazy comparisons of this work with Beckett — whilst it’s true Cicero’s characters witter on without dynamic or conclusion — this is merely a facile aping of Beckett’s revelation of the human condition written in weary tropes.

If this book is intended as a synecdoche for Western society then I am afraid it is disappointingly successful, and perhaps that is my problem with this work, whilst personally shunning redemptive novels this small reflection of Post-Modern apathy is just too lacking in poetry or revelation to raise it from the lowest common denominator and frankly I can watch reality TV if I need a fix of that.

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ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Heidi James‘ novella The Mesmerist’s Daughter (published by Apis Books) will be launched in July 2007, likewise her novel Carbon (published by Wrecking Ball Press). She has a column in Dazed and Confused, is a regular contributor to Another Level and Arts Editor for 3:AM. Her essays and short stories are published in a variety of anthologies and magazines. She is the proprietor of Social Disease and is a recipient of the Sophie Warne fellowship.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, June 8th, 2007.