x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Petit Mal is big on style

DBC Pierre’s latest offering, Petit Mal, comprises “short fiction, philosophical vignettes and aphoristic interludes”, interspersed with photographs, cartoons and illustrations.

Clare Dight Since winnning both the Man Booker Prize and Whitbread First Novel Award for his 2003 debut, Vernon God Little, the fortunes of D B C Pierre have, perhaps inevitably, waned.

His latest offering, Petit Mal, is a rather glossy, stocking-filler of a book in a CD-style format comprising “short fiction, philosophical vignettes and aphoristic interludes”, interspersed with photographs, cartoons and illustrations by Pierre himself.

Critics have been dissatisfied and less than kind, calling the collection an exercise in marketing “bin-ends” and pretentious utterances rather than a literary offering of any real merit.

Fans of Vernon God Little will still be interested, however, to read where the author’s musings have taken him from a “relationship” with the Virgin Mary (or is that Mary Magdalene?) via an Armenian paradise and a traveller’s diary to the difficulties of translation. There are comic strips, prose poems and more journalistic-style features, too.

The first cartoon, showing a small, blue, dog-like creature holding a bomb and sticking two fingers up, sets the tone.

But, reading on, I found it all rather self-conscious. Strictly for his fans.

cdight@thenational.ae