This darkly satirical comedy, depicting a failed schoolmaster’s attempt to take on the American political system evokes memories of Our Man in Havana. Mr Attwood has the true comedian’s lightness of touch, and there is hardly a dull moment in it. Particularly fine were the descriptions of Our Hero’s experiences as a schoolmaster. The action moves well throughout the book, and although I found the ending a little abrupt, on reflection I don’t know that the more conventional, drawn-out epilogue chapter would have added anything worthwhile to it.
Comic fiction lives or dies by its characters, and this is a particular strength in Spill. Even minor characters are lovingly drawn; no cardboard cutouts here, they are all real and alive. A traditional third person narrative is used, with subtle shifts to its tone depending on the point of view. I have always felt that it is in his use of narrative that a writer shows his true quality, and Mr Attwood passes this acid test with flying colours.
There were a very few proofreading errors, but by and large the book’s presentation is excellent, providing a good, clean read.
All in all, the book is a joy to read, and will particularly appeal to anyone who has worked in the education system, or in politics.