Chris Whybrow's Reviews > The Good Terrorist

The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing
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it was ok

A book does not need to be enjoyable to have a valid message, and to explore deep and significant themes. It does not have to be enjoyable to be a literary masterpiece. It does not have to be enjoyable to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

It does, however, have to be enjoyable for it to be enjoyed. That should be quite self-explanatory.

And, for me at least, 'The Good Terrorist' was not enjoyable. The blurb (I really should learn not to trust blurbs) described a group of Communist radicals getting way out of their depth trying to become involved in terrorist activities, before eventually carrying out an attack and being unable to cope with the aftermath or the true cost of their actions.

That's not what the book is about at all. It's about a group of Communists squatting in a house. Cleaning this house. Selling rugs. Painting. Getting a new water tank. Thrilling. Completely enthralling.

That's not to say the book is bad. None of this is the fault of the book itself, more the fault of the misleading blurb, and me myself for not being a fan of slow paced books. But, after reading over three hundred and fifty pages of house renovation, it probably makes more sense to cap it all off with fifty more pages of house renovation than some superfluous terrorist attack which as far as I can tell, does nothing to develop the characters in the novel's final few pages.

So, what point is 'The Good Terrorist' trying to make? That most hard-line leftists are middle-class activists engaging in demonstrations more for their own enjoyment than any ideological reasons, have little to no chance of any long term success and are completely out of touch with the people they claim to stand up for, railing against a Conservative administration that was in all likelihood voted in to power by the very Proletariat class they claim to draw support from? Because I'm reminded of this uncomfortable fact every time I read a newspaper and see Jeremy Corbyn's miserable, humourless face. The situation has not improved since this book was published.

So 'The Good Terrorist' remains relevant to this day, even if I myself found it boring. I'll give it that much.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 21, 2016 – Shelved

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