Spontaneous Book Review: Curiosity
Posted by Anneque D. Machelle
A wild book review appeared!
Curiosity by Helen Valentina
Peter has one philosophy: that the world has already ended, and we’re living in a deconstructed universe. To this end he’s created a series of proofs, which he flaunts to friends, family and strangers at the slightly provocation. Peter is 22, totally devoid of empathy, rich, and a real little brat.
His life under the radar meets an abrupt end the day he stops a gunman at a mall from shooting a woman and child. Well, nobody is totally sure the gunman would have shot the woman – in fact no one knows much about the gunman at all. He’s totally disappeared since the incident, leaving the spotlight for Peter alone. That is, Peter and his apparent heroism. Now the media is after Peter, television, magazines and even politicians all wanting a piece of him. Peter, who is sustained by his curiosity through a life he declares is pointless, simply goes along with it all. He winds up working for a right wing politician, to the great distress of his friends and family. But it seems even in the shadiest of jobs Peter is destined to do some good, sniffing out scandal in a halls of local government not in the name of justice, but curiosity.
Curiosity has its goods and bads. It’s well written and clever, Peter is generally charismatic enough to get away with being a total scumbag, which he is – sleeping with his university professor’s wife, cheating on his girlfriend and never hiding it from her; he even watched his father die of a heart attack and made no attempt to save him. Peter is driven by his curiosity. And there is ample to be curious about in the book, from the political intrigue and filthy amounts of scandal, to Peter’s ideas on the world and its end. The commentary on modern media and politics is particularly enjoyable, and Valentina illustrates this unusual relationship uniquely and deftly.
So just like Peter, the story can be charming and witty and interesting. However, just like Peter, it can be a pretentious brat. The story makes liberal use of irony, and that is unfortunately as ingratiating as it is other times charming. It’s very much stream of consciousness, very much embedded in the psyche of Peter and the people he interacts with. The characters, Peter included, are portrayed as these grotesque psychoanalyses, less characters and more caricatures of personality traits wrapped up in egos. Despite the satire tag it could perhaps use some softening.
Still, I think anyone into philosophy and psychology will get a kick out of this book. The story is enjoyable and fun to follow, the irony is generally well used, the humour is strong, and even though I didn’t like Peter he quite often made me laugh. If you like your satire black and your wit razor sharp, then Curiosity will reward your attention.
In other news, we should be seeing a podcast soon, fingers crossed an interview with the brilliant Jex Collyer. Also this week there will be a double feature of the Sunday Witch Hunters to make up for last week’s skip, and hm, yep, I’m sensing an article as well. I saw a video on how to make a portable stove out of a Coke can and for the sake of research (and science!) that will be tested in the next few days. As soon as I get over my phobia of igniting alcohol … it goes back to childhood, my old house, where blackberries grew thick along one fence. My step-father, in an attempt to get rid of the weeds, doused them in turps and set them alight. The flames were twenty foot tall. Not long after that, he left the gas on on the stovetop after boiling tea. He went back later to use stove again, and WHUMPH! A miniature fireball right in our kitchen.
I could go on. Actually the number of times that man has used turps to light the fire in winter is a little distressing. Gosh. I’m feeling faint. All these memories of spontaneous ignition are pouring back. Oh dear. Maybe the cans will have to wait for next week…