Lionel Asbo - a very violent but not very successful young criminal - is going about his morning duties in a London prison when he learns that he has just won £139,999,999.50 on the National Lottery. This is not necessarily good news for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Des Pepperdine, who still has reason to fear his uncle's implacable vengeance.
Savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant, Lionel Asbo is a modern fairytale from one of the world's great writers.
Well May’s reading started with a bit of a damp squib. Having previously struggled valiantly with House of Meetings, been subsequently less tortured when reading The Pregnant Widow, albeit falling short of rapturous admiration for Amis, I had higher hopes for this one.
Not the worst book I have ever read, but when I’m long into my dotage, probably a couple of weeks or so from now, I reckon I will have banished this long from the memory. It wasn’t that it was “bad”, in the sense that it was awful, it was just fairly uninteresting. When you can’t empathise with a character, you don’t particularly care how he behaves and what the consequences of such behaviour are. I was bored and irritable when reading it, so bored I had to down tools halfway through and start another book, which by the way was only slightly less boring.
Back to Mr Asbo; an unsuccessful career criminal, from a deprived family, in a deprived area where everyone hates everything and everyone, and expresses the hate through violence and feckless sex and alcohol and drugs. Lionel’s unmarried mother had her first child at 12 years of age and Lionel her 5th or 6th at..........zzzzzzz.
Oops sorry I dozed off there for a minute...............that’s it in a nutshell.
I bored myself reading it, and I’m bored trying to write about it!
Highlights, at less than 300 pages long, I could have been more bored if he had dragged things out. Plus, I borrowed it from the library, so apart from the time wasted I didn’t part with any cash for it. 2 minor plusses, and I’m grateful for small mercies.
On the basis that I didn’t feel like sticking pins in my eyes when reading it, so it can’t qualify as the worst ever book I have had the misfortune to read I will give it a 2 from 5.