Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #38: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals by Jesse Armstrong

Satirical novel set in 1994, at a time when there was a lot of conflict in Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia was in the process of being split up. The main characters are a group of students who are determined to get into Bosnia and perform a play that they think will stop the war. The main character and narrator is a character called Andrew, who also has an ulterior motive of sleeping with one of his female friends.

I am familiar with Jesse Armstrong's work on British TV shows, and that was what convinced me to read it; I was prepared for the type of dark, edgy humour that was used in this novel. I wasn't too surprised to see a lot of humour used about the war itself, and a lot of the novel involves the main characters travelling through increasingly dangerous war zones. There is one memorable sequence where Andrew gets stuck on a minefield.

I got the impression that reviews of this were somewhat lukewarm, and I didn't think this was a brilliant novel, not as good as some of Armstrong's TV work, but it was still readable and enjoyable. The plot wasn't really much more than a bunch of characters going to perform a play and then returning home, and a lot of descriptions of what it was like to travel through war zones, while the characters didn't really seem to develop much. There were a lot of moments when the characters launched into long-winded political debates, which only got really entertaining when it became apparent that even they didn't really understand the point of the conflict. There were also some good moments revolving around British awkwardness.

It's worth a read; a lot of the humour is very highbrow, and it really depends on how much you like political humour or how much you understand about the conflict that took place in Europe in the 1990s.

Next book: The X-Files: Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson
Tags: adventure, book review, comedy, period fiction (20th century), politics, satire, war

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