(by Scarlett Thomas).
Copy the Gardener “Family Tree” at the opening of this novel and keep it close at hand. Perhaps you will be more successful than I at keeping the characters apart, remembering who is married to whom, who is whose brother and whether or not this sweaty encounter is adultery. The characters all seem to have the same name and hip “lifestyle”. The confusion is confounded by the chop-change style – in case the reader is not confused enough, incomplete passages of pop-psychology, dialogue and cogitation are interlarded without attribution. Is it Oleander, Clem, Charlie, Ollie, Bryony, Holly, Ash, Pi, Fleur, Skye or Pondscum this time? Bryony’s drunken shopping and eating spree – although it seems to be an admonition against consumerism and gluttony, it is by far the best part in the book.