Book Review: Jude in London by Julian Gough

This book is a steadily paced and hilarious romp through the tomes of literature and economic theory.  I have been following Mr. Gough (pronounced like cough) on Twitter and was honestly very curious to read this book after it had been described along the lines of Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminati!  I can only remember that I got the distinct impression Mr. Wilson had been tripping his proverbial balls off while he wrote this and was quite curious about the spin that Jude in London would have.  That being said, I was very happy that I had finally gotten my hands on the Trust Edition of Jude in London and have spent the past week reading in short controlled bursts about the randomness that is Judes’ journey.  At one point, I even laughed so loud that I woke the dog and the dog snores like an asthmatic with a cold.

Within the for 100 pages, the hero has saved the world, lost his true love to a monkey, and made a suit from paper bags and rabbit skills gathered from road kill.  Being a student of International Relations, I was actually more taken by the building of the wall by the successful Irish lads and it’s description of how and why Hedge Funds may have been a not so good idea.  Jude struck me as the single most idiotic and anachronistic man on the planet, while also being an idiot savant with the intelligence of Albert Einstein.  The way that his thoughts force a breakdown of all the double speak around the situations he is being thrown into is really refreshing.  As you read, you can see yourself say- well, DUH!

The walk throws a nod to Thoreau as the hero lives off that land and claims a traffic median as his own untouched land, while as he’s entering the city Jude is graced with a fantastic comparison of the creation and collapse of the housing market to that of a goat exchange (stock market-esk) in a fictitious Solalia.  I can only say that this was the best explanation I have heard to date and am wishing that it could find it’s way on to CNN so that everyone who is confused as hell might be able to understand the issue.  The journey that we follow is classical, he’s on a quest to find Angela, but along the way, there is a ton of commentary about the state of literature, art, art and literature prizes, the pretension of the aristocracy, and the ego of the film industry.

I loved that London was wonderland.  Jude roams through the great big city with the eyes of a simpleton viewing things that we make exceptionally convoluted and the fact that Mr. Gough has an entirely X-rated scene, roughly 10 pages long in which he uses not one pornographic term.  I do wonder whether a person unfamiliar with a top 100 list of classical literature and authors would understand some of the names used, but it was very amusing.  After Jude wins the Turner of Turner Prize for doing absolutely nothing the quest to uncover the secret of his origin continues as well as a quest for his new true love who has been sent back to America.  The whole journey in the olive oil I can only compare to a birthing experience.  It just seems a bit, well, oily to me 😉

As a whole, I laughed, I cried (not really), and I enjoyed reading Jude in London.  I may just have to download Jude in Ireland now!


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