The Human War
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.
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.