Ariel enters the Troposphere and hilarity doesn’t ensue. For me, and rather unfortunately since it is ninety per cent of the book, Thomas is not half as good a writer of her own story as when she’s pretending to be Dumas. It’s overlong, Ariel is an irritating protagonist, and the dialogue is, at points, very stilted. There are pages and pages of Ariel and her colleagues debating Creationism and the Theory of Relativity. Thomas often introduces fairly complicated philosophical ideas and then, lacking the courage of her convictions, tries to dumb down or clunkily explain them to the reader. There’s also a dated virtual reality feel to the story that I didn’t like.
I’m not sure he and I have talked much about books, because it tends to be records and life. He was the final person to submit his recommendation. Classic Crackers. (In fact, he was so late that I’d devised a Plan B: to ask this really cute guy I’d seen around for a recommendation, as an in to talk to him. It was probably a good idea that Crackers came through. It might have all gone a bit Love Actually.)
Ian, I’m sorry I didn’t like this book very much. But I liked writing about it very, very much. And I liked writing about you very, very, very much.