Thursday, February 17, 2011

book review: Holiday in a Coma by Frederic Beigbeder

"Slowly but surely, five o'clock has reluctantly come round.
Boredom breaks on the horizon with its disappointed yawns. It is the emollient hour, the hour of turpitude. Couples and livers have been serenely self-destructing; now it is time to put on a brave face. At 5 a.m. all that remains in a nightclub are the apoplectic losers and in dolent idiots who know that whater may happen, they have little chance og getting anything up."

If ever a novel came with a beats per minute register it would be this one. Not just because the action is set in a night club but because of the pace.

Things start slowly introducing the reader to the world of Mar Marronier, an advertising executive, who knows all the best people and is invited to all the best parties. Tonight he is going to meet an old friend who has gone to Japan and made it big as an international DJ at the opening of a new club in Paris.

Hour by hour you follow Marc through the experience of attending the opening at the club Shit and of his antics. The pace speeds and slows depending on alacholic intake of Marc and the manic behaviour of his drug fuelled friends.

But what strikes you from quite early on is that this is a shallow world where name dropping, drug taking and putting on an exhibition are all key to making a name for yourself. Being original and a thinker is only good if you can use that in a public way to court attention and followers.

Marc, who steers clear of drugs most of the time, gets drunker and displays the classic signs of boredom. Irratable and increasingly tired he manages to offend ex girlefriends, friends and strangers as he wanders from bar stool to dance floor with the odd break outside to breathe in the atmosphere of an early Parisian morning.

Just as you start to despair that Marc is as shallow as the rest his wife emerges from under the human wreckage of the dance floor to illustrate the what really matters is a real love that most of the others in Shit are desperately struggling and failing to find.

For a story that can make you laugh as well as despair it's one that sums up perfectly the shallow celebrity obsessed age that most of us are trapped in.


Verity C said...

Congrats, I've awarded the Seven Facts Award to your blog.

Anonymous said...

I ve read his 9 11 book simon must admit this one sounds better simon ,he seems a adventurous writer ,all the best stu

Morgana15 said...

Vulgar & Elegant
Just finished reading... Some disgust, some relief, some grief, some celebration... ;) Took a bit of research to get most of the references, but I liked that Madonna was on the guest list to enter ;) Unfortunately, state of mind changes depending on your socio-economic status in your head, no matter what country you live in... I don't think that taking cheap shots on vulgarity is fair to the society, but we're all guilty of voyeurism to a certain degree, otherwise why we would strive to achieve more recognition/"financial independence" &/or why does the success of reality shows exist. Beigbeder is dead on on that. But little too vulgar & yet sentimental for my taste... oh well. Good read indeed.