A twentieth century life
I adored Ian Thornton's The great and calamitous tale of Johan Thoms. It's a wonderful picaresque tale spanning the century and the continent speaking of love and loss in a way that is unique to Johan Thoms' disordered mind, but which is also a tale of Everyman in that most turbulent of centuries.
Thoms and his motley gang of friends are outsiders looking in, but are also at the heart of events. And this is very clever, as this must have been what it was like for so many people. Ordinary men and women pulled into the wars that raged at the heart of the century. Alongside the fictional characters, real men and women drift in and out too - a wonderfully acerbic Dorothy Parker, a lovable George Orwell, and an eccentric Ernest Hemingway featuring in one of the most memorable moments in the novel.
At times comic, sometimes poignant or angry, always beautifully written. This weird, eccentric, compelling tale held me transfixed from beginning to end. If it isn't already on your To Be Read list, it should be. A dazzling story.