Five words from the blurb: friendship, failure, misfortune, writer, society
Quicksand is the story of two men: Liam is a failed writer who decides to become a policeman; and Aldo is a failed entrepreneur, who is continually asking Liam to bail him out of difficult situations. The book concentrates on the dynamics of their relationship, using them to show how society reacts to failure and suffering.
The book started brilliantly. The first chapter is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. It was intelligent and insightful, creating exactly the sort of dry humor that I love:
I wanted to highlight almost everything and at one point was beginning to think that too many punchlines were crammed onto each page. I worried that I’d get face-ache from laughing too much.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen. The jokes began to thin out and without their lightness I found the book far less interesting. The writing was outstanding throughout, but I wasn’t interested in the macho aspects of this book. The casual way the protagonists talked about prostitutes, and their general attitude towards women annoyed me. It was realistic, but I’ve read similar things many times before and longed for the fresh wisdom of the opening sections to return.
I’m sure that this book will be loved by many (men) and it will probably be longlisted for the Booker Prize. I just wished that Toltz had made the entire book as good as the first few chapters.