Sceptre £16.99

The Teleportation Accident By Ned Beauman

Miss Hitler: Her part in my downfall

You wait ages for one ingenious work of fiction joining the dots between Nazism, sci-fi, espionage, sex, politics, art and quantum physics to come along, and then two arrive all at once. Hot on the heels of Jake Arnott's tour de force The House of Rumour comes Ned Beauman's The Teleportation Accident, a funny, flashy, over-excited puppy of a novel.

Like Arnott (and indeed David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan), Beauman employs an array of plots, locations and literary genres: he parodies everything from Brecht, Ulysses and the "lost generation" in Paris to Dashiell Hammett, H P Lovecraft and Hollywood's post-Expressionist horror movies of the 1930s. While Arnott's narrative whirl doubled as a quest for meaning in a chaotic universe, Beauman's own restless storytelling blurs lines between art and artifice, design and chance, sex and politics.

At the centre is an anti-hero called Egon Loeser, one vowel away from being a loser by name as well as nature. An avant-gardish set designer in the Weimar Republic, he is so desperate to have sex with the beauteous Adele Hitler (no relation) that he pursues her half way across the globe, to Los Angeles via Paris. His infatuation is such, moreover, that he hardly notices when her namesake begins his war of genocide and world domination.

Distracting the passive, self-centred Loeser are attempts to design a fully operational teleportation device in 17th-century Venice and 20th-century California; a Communist spy ring; Los Angeles's nascent public transport system; and a serial killer eating hearts at Caltech.

This melange works because Beauman is such a meticulous narrative arranger. Chekov's axiom about making use of loaded rifles has been refined to a mind-boggling degree. If a Beauman character saunters into a Parisian café on page 83 claiming to have written a Fitzgeraldish novel (The Sorrowful Noble Ones), you can be sure he will raise his elegant head again on page 345. Add in an epigrammatic prose style that revels in the irrational and illogical, and one senses the diverse influences of P G Wodehouse and Douglas Adams: the final section feels like a missing chapter from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Occasionally, the frenetic tone and pace proved trying, and even a little tiring: I occasionally pictured Beauman as a talented but over-functioning young magician unable to stop pulling bunnies out of hats. But when his wit and his intelligence work in harmony, he sings memorable comic songs. Loeser's appearance before the Congressional Committee of Un-American Activities becomes a funny Borgesian game: he waves his tie above his head "like a gaucho's bolas" simply to see if it will be mentioned in the transcript.

Like its predecessor Boxer, Beetle, The Teleportation Accident is popping with ideas, fizzing with vitality, and great fun to quaff. Just be careful not to get too much up your nose.

Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Jess Glynne is UK number 1

music

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor