Summer Reading: Beautiful Animals

Lionel Shriver for Washington Post gives it a very positive review

… let’s not mince words. This is a great book. Truly difficult to put down, the novel exerts a sickening pull. Its climax and resolution will not disappoint. The social perspective is sophisticated, smart and uncomfortable, and the story is cracking. Osborne published two novels, in 1986 and 1990, then plunged into nonfiction and journalism, only emerging as a fiction writer again with “The Forgiven” in 2012. Yet comparisons to Graham Greene and Paul Bowles might already qualify as trite. By publishing four novels in the past five years, he seems to be working from a fat, tattered file titled “Human Condition: Notes,” and is making up for lost time. Lucky for us, too.

Of course, you should be in the mood for some satire of bourgois ways.

Lawrence Osborne is attuned to the often catastrophic clash of civilizations that a mobile world sets in train. One imagines he might endorse fellow British writer David Goodhart’s distinction between the Somewheres and the Anywheres: people rooted profoundly in one place and culture vs. peripatetic, well-educated elites who derive their only real sense of location from one another’s company. Osborne is certainly clued up about the blundering of decadent tourists amid more morally grounded locals. His cynical take on Western decay is pitiless, matter-of-fact.

I, for one, am lways in the mood for some pitiless, matter-of-fact criticism before cocktails!


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