Saturday, October 3, 2020

Adapted from my comment at Locus

Lavie Tidhar - By Force Alone
Any poor soul who's followed me here knows that I'm a big fan of Lavie Tidhar, and By Force Alone, his newest novel, his postmodern interpretation of Arthurian fiction, is as readable as everything he publishes. But while he intends the book to be a descent into the muck, it descended a bit too far for me with Galahad’s initiation.

Of all the cultural references Tidhar makes, the truest one to the spirit of the novel is the one to Goodfellas–and while I can’t help but appreciate Scorsese’s ability to spin a yarn, when I watch that film I always feel a little soiled. And so it goes with this book.

With novels, you should even like the antiheroes, you know? But other than Merlin, some of the time, there’s no-one remotely sympathetic here at all.

I'm no shrinking violet, but with all the mob references, and with all the fucking profanity, with all the farts and the steaming piles of horse shit, with the complete lack of principle or virtue, never mind chivalry, you're left wondering how this could possibly be an edifying addition to the Matter of Britain, for anyone.