"Lights Out in Wonderland has all the verbal wit and energy of Vernon God Little."—Financial Times
Gabriel Brockwell—aesthete, philosopher, disaffected twenty-something decadent—is thinking terminal. He's decided to kill himself—but not immediately. His destination is Wonderland. The style of the journey is all that's to be decided.
Traveling between London, Tokyo, and Berlin, Gabriel is in search of the bacchanal to obliterate all previous parties. His adventure takes in a spell in rehab, a near-death experience eating a poisonous Japanese delicacy, and finally an orgiastic feast in the bowels of Berlin's majestic Tempelhof Airport. Along the way, Gabriel falls apart, only to reemerge with a new outlook on the world and a mission to right his past wrongs.
Lights Out in Wonderland is an allegorical banquet, a sly commentary on these End Times and the march toward banality, and a joyful expression of the human spirit.
Man Booker winner Pierre pulls a gonzo evisceration of these grim times in his high-octane third novel (after Ludmila's Broken English). Gabriel Brockwell, 26 and trapped in an English rehab facility, decides that suicide is his only option, but he's got some stops to make first, his home in London, then to Tokyo where his friend, Nelson Smuts, is working as a chef at a restaurant specializing in poisonous blowfish, and finally on to Berlin to look up an old colleague of his father and to stage a last supper in the famous Tempelhof Airport. The narrative, of course, isn't really the point: it's the verbal pyrotechnics, the observations and digressions about society that sneak up on you with their scathing humor or cutting clarity. As a nihilistic screed that rails against capitalism and excesses, this hits all the right buttons (think a fusion of William Gibson's intelligence with Hunter S. Thompson's manic energy), but Pierre doesn't fare as well on the human dimension, finding little heart or genuine emotion in Gabriel or the grotesques he encounters. Even if the characters never really pop, Pierre's relentless energy will keep readers entertained and piqued.