After reluctantly being ‘rationalised’ from his Foreign Office job, Kevin Crump takes up a teaching position at Cambrian University, the most improved university in South Wales.
There he finds a culture in which ‘Political Correctness 2.0’ is out of control, with ‘no-platforming’, intolerance of free speech, insidious anti-Semitism, gender politics in all its/her/his/their forms, ‘trigger warnings’ banning classic books so as not to offend the sensibilities of ‘snowflake’ students, and ‘positive’ discrimination and diversity drives galore. In the midst of all this, Brexit begins.
When the university claims to have discovered a founding document giving it the right, with royal approval, to declare independence from Britain and continued loyalty to the EU, the vast majority of staff and students are delighted. However, things may not be quite as simple as they first seem. It is how Crump negotiates this and more which forms the basis of this entertainingly absurd and timely novel, and which will ultimately decide his future and his fate.
“It’s like a cross between Catch-22 and Lucky Jim for the Brexit generation.”
Customer ReviewsSee All
It’s not savage, just sad.
The premise looked really interesting, it is set mostly in Wales, in a university too. Dare I say I thought it may be a bit Jasper Fforde-ish? Spoiler: I was very wrong. It wasn't savage satire, it was just sad. Poor descriptions and cliched phrases, I mean it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you're going to use an overused cliché you shouldn't do it twice in the same story.
I was confused by the place naming, one was called The Town (clearly Swansea), yet London gets a mention. Not only that, but they go to Gower [sic] Gower. I mean, everybody in South Wales would say 'The Gower'. The tired old tropes of the other characters come hard and fast, Boyo Bellylaughs can only tell a racist joke, the young character cannot speak to make any sense, the foreign students speak in an unbelievable way, and characters appear and disappear as suits the need of the story at that time.
"Crump wondered how communication could take place when one person was, in effect, wearing a mask?...blah blah…pandering to extreme needs…blah blah". So, after this, there is a 4-page preamble of a gammon mind about how it's unethical and was originally meant to be a punishment blah blah blah. So, of course, this is followed by characters being referred to as him/her throughout. I couldn't get on with the character, but that hasn't stopped me before; think Queenie or Elinor Oliphant. What's worse is that the chapters overly long as the character mansplains his feelings and brings up every argument every shade of gammon a bore usually does when another person speaks. I mean, if my eyes could roll any further back I'd be able to make money from it.
The main antagonist of the book is a female character campaigning for safer spaces. The protagonist does not feel the need for safer spaces, likely because he is a CIS white male. I mean he's really angry at the fact he's one of the most privileged demographics in the world and all I could hear was white male tears. Boohoo. In the end, she is belittled as much as is humanly possible and essentially be made out to be a little girl. There are invalid plot points that lead to nowhere, nothing really happens, you couldn't even call it a bildungsroman because the character is the same pink-faced, white man and the sound of their tears.
Somewhere in Europe is published through a self-publishing company called Matador books. I received my version through Net Galley UK.