Towards the Sun, By Christopher George

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The Independent Culture

Harry Brinkman is nearly 60, his wife is cuckolding him with a golf instructor, his pension fund has imploded, his grown-up children are all chasing their lives up blind alleys, and his dad's has just died and turned out not to be quite the war hero Harry thought. When this novel begins, Harry has his head in a noose, but he veers away from suicide and decides to start living his life by the principle "Only Resist". A serio-comic struggle follows, in which Harry tries to sort out his marriage, punish the evil pensions company, guide his errant children, and strike blows for liberty against such contemporary ills as health-and-safety regulations, car-clampers and selective faith schools.

It is a promising idea, but Brinkman lacks the fine fury of a Victor Meldrew or the frenzied frustration of a Larry David. There's something about the novel that doesn't catch fire, as if it's put together out of wet wood. Maybe it's because some of the characters – such as the wife – are not properly done; maybe it's because Brinkman, though clearly a decent and intelligent chap, never quite becomes interesting or likeable. Maybe it's just me, but this novel made me want to resist it.

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