Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Hawthorn and Child: Keith Ridgway

They're London policemen- and weird shit happens round them all the time- but none of it exactly happens to them. They witness the weird shit- and some of it is very weird indeed- but they're tangential to it. They don't see the context- what happened before and what happens after. Much of their time is spent gathering information on a fixer called Mishazzo- who is well dodgy- or is he?- because we only ever see him when he's riding in his car- between meetings. I don't think it's just because their creator's Irish that they make me think of Vladimir and Estragon.

Hawthorn and Child is a detective novel without the detecting- or at least without any detecting that gets us anywhere, a crime novel without much in the way of crime and never anything by way of resolution. Hawthorn is continuously making notes- like the recording angel- like a novelist in search of a theme- but he never uses them. Why, when I'm happiest making eggs for my friends- he asks himself- do I never think about things like that but only about the craziness and drama?

The stories- because it's as much a collection of short stories as a novel- are told in many voices- some of which are mad, some of which are lying- and, of course, it's all a fiction, anyway.
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