Kay, a young woman who has buried her life into her work,
is sent to the remote state of Candida to open it up for business
opportunities. However, what she finds is a strange land seemingly
out of step with the rest of the planet. She quickly finds
herself disempowered and has to take a menial job in a house
of ill repute and it looks increasingly unlikely that she
will be able to carry out her mission...
Majeure is a new novel by Daniel O'Mahony. O' Mahony is
famous for, among other things, having the balls, at the age
of twelve, to demand to professionally write a Doctor Who
book. Although rebuffed at the time it did not dint either
his ambition or enthusiasm, eventually bringing the reward
of having Falls the Shadow published in 1994, by Virgins
Doctor Who: New Adventures. Since this success he has
penned a number of audio dramas for Big Finish and published
a further three books, Force Majeure being his fifth
book, which is being published by Telos.
title literally means 'greater force' and is usually used
when discussing acts of god - that is, a force that it is
impossible to resist. It can also mean a unexpected event
which either inhibits someone's ability to do something or
which compels them to do something (lesson over).
Mahony throws you straight into the mind of Kay. Her journey
to Candida is quickly disposed of and the events which happen
to her and her reaction appear to be almost random. Initially,
I thought that the book was extremely badly written until
the penny dropped.
O' Mahony has cleverly used his writing style to evoke an
almost dreamlike state. Dreams are never wholly coherent,
either with their internal logic or the juxtaposition of elements,
and O' Mahony has been able to reproduce that sense of unease
that we feel when we have a dream in which we no longer feel
in control. This is further reinforced with the use of Kay's
own dreams and their importance to the overall plot.
this pattern he has woven parts of Franz Kafka's paranoia
from The Trial (1925), some of the narrative structure
and imagery of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited
Away (2001) and James Hilton's Lost Horizon
(1933), as well as some of the style of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast
Trilogy (1946), especially Titus Alone (1959).
The combination is at once as brilliant as it is unsettling.
befitting this smorgasbord of influences, Candida, is a very
peculiar place, being both part and yet not a part of the
world which surrounds it. Set high up in the Andes, its citizens
dress like they belong in nineteenth century Bavaria and yet
they are aware of the rest of the world, having knowledge
of current trends in modernity, including the Internet.
the end, there is still doubt over whether anything depicted
in the novel actually happens, but to be honest it's pretty
immaterial, just sit back and enjoy the fantastical journey
that O'Mahony takes you on, because today here be Dragons.
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