Vogue described this debut novel as ‘’tolerant, funny and real.’’  I’d describe it as utterly intolerant, about as funny as leukaemia and no more real than John Prescott’s modelling career.  

I expected to read a witty and fast-paced insight into life in the fast lane. What I got was a laborious and nihilistic trudge through the counter-culture of self-obsession.  The protagonist ‘Puppy’ is (supposedly) ‘’spiritually disenfranchised’’ - which is hardly surprising given his seething Thatcherite credentials.  Every step of the way, he thinks of nothing and no-one but himself: ‘’I cried for my desperate, backward and abandoned mother, and for my desperate no-good bastard father.  Most of all, I cried for me, the desperate first-born son who’d now have to pick up the tab, but couldn’t afford the bill.’’  Thing is, he doesn’t pick up the tab.  He repeatedly lends money off his mother, when his brother asks him to be Best Man, he doesn’t show-up at the wedding, the only reason he’s with his girlfriend is because she supplies a roof over his head, and when he’s given the opportunity to redeem himself, he refuses.

All this from a man who declares:  ‘’There was no God.  If there was, He was a shit and not to be trusted.’’  

A huge disappointment.

David Marx
By Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal - Vintage Books  £7.99