Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ruby and the Stone Age Diet

Martin Millar
Ruby and the Stone Age Diet
(Soft Skull, 2010)

The unnamed narrator, who broke up with the girlfriend Sis, lives in the one or the other London squat with his friend Ruby. She told him that the cactus, left by Cis, should flower, and then, according to the book of myths, Cis should return to him forever. While he waits flowering cactus, his life is vain and irrational. He finds the most idiotic work that you have come, and he is abducted by aliens, he met on the street talking robots, writes songs for his group, searching for a drummer, and he is surrounded by gods and goddesses. In all of this is not clear whether it happens to him really, or he is just a great romancer (LSD in the novel is only on one page).

Millar, under the pseudonym Martin Scott once wrote fantasy series about Thraxas, under his real name writes phantasmagoric urban stories, and "Ruby" is one of them. But if poor language of novels about Thraxas is difficult to call positive point, then in this book deliberately simple language is ideally suited for the narrator. Young foolish Londoner seems barely to understand the world organization, and therefore when he writes songs invents goddess of electric guitar players, when he was left - the god of the broken hearts, when he is left alone - the powerful spirit Inka, when he goes to the museum - muse Clio, so that gods does not look like a game of paganism, but rather like the mind games. And in an already slim novel Millar inserts a series of stories, Ruby writes from time to time, trying to either disband number of pages, then draws parallels between the story's heroine, a werewolf girl Cynthia and Ruby: they are both independent, but vulnerable, both were left by their stupid men but they nevertheless continue to miss them, and both write: Ruby - the story about Cynthia, and Cynthia in turn vampire love poems.

Between the myths about robots and ghosts the author inserts the problems of unemployment, the lives of British squatters, suffering literary creation (Ruby rewrites for earnings stories from the tabloids and porno magazines) and the uncertainty in the personal lives of young people, but because of the neighborhood with all written buffoonery in the novel these themes look like as the laws book against the cap and clown nose, and they can not be taken seriously.

Millar confuses the reader with the title (the Stone Age diet is only episodic), but forgets about the plot: the action in the book is virtually absent, whirling around amorous melancholy protagonist, so the narrator cactus is growing faster than anything in the novel takes place. The only intrigue, which the author keeps to the end, but it seems that without even knowing about it – not even whether Cis comes back to the protagonist, but whether his friendship with Ruby becomes something more.

150 pages of the book which the author may well have put in the 4 words – fools can love, too.

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