Tuesday, September 27, 2016


(this is a post I wrote a few weeks back but only just found again)

I just read Roddy Doyle 's brilliant. It's set in Dublin and is a story about how the kids of Dublin defeat the Black Dog of Depression who is ruining the adults’ lives.

It's so literal. Kids are the only ones who can defeat the dog because they are the future. They laugh at almost anything and when they say the word ‘brilliant’ they take away the dog's power.

I didn't enjoy it, it's just too on-the-nose. I think of another book that made everyday words into metaphors - Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. His treatment of London tube stations is fairly literal, but it's clever, and nestles inside a clever book and the metaphors aren't the whole story.  Brilliant is described as a magical, moving, marvellous story. I find it too obvious to be moving.  It doesn’t feel magical, not if you have an imagination. It's simplistic, depression can’t be staved off and defeated by being cheerful and laughing.  Metaphor doesn’t work unless you follow it through, you can’t do halfway houses. 

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