(So Much For My)Happy Ending Watch:

It seems to be a current obsession of mine that more books, films and whatnot seem to have incongruous happy endings. And I don’t just mean rom-coms. Books which are explicitly structured as tragic narratives seem more often to contort themselves into happy endings these days. I mentioned Vernon God Little on this front on the Wedge, Somersault wanders this road too. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, any form of predictability can undermine a story. But I will note them when I come across them, and sometimes they are lousy.

So to Dead Air by Iain Banks. The book was lucky I even got to the end of it. I nearly did not get past the two page paean to Mark & Lard on Radio One, which was heartfelt, sycophantic and thoroughly out of place. I even threw the book across the room at that point (note to self I should stop doing this with library books). Anyway consider the following: the book is about a shock jock who angers all sorts of groups who may want him dead, is having an affair with a gangsters wife, and the clincher: the book is called DEAD Air. The whole thing builds to a violent crescendo which does not deliver. Why? Banks is clearly in love with his character, who he designed to be obnoxious. The book feels like it chickens out, and then gives him a send off he does not deserve. This could be considered a spoiler, but since the book is constantly being spoiled by Banks’s clumsy political editorialisms, it really is not worth the effort.