The Seymour Tapes, by Tim Lott

Tim Lott tells the story of how he was approached by the wife of a Alex Seymour, a GP who met with a scandalous end, to write a book in which the real facts of the case could be revealed. Shortly before he died, Seymour had started to make clandestine recordings of his family using hidden video cameras, and Lott is given full access to these and other CC tapes in order to try and uncover the truth.

Well, this was a reasonable read but not a patch on The Love Secrets of Don Juan or White City Blue. It was made interesting by the way that Lott played with the form - the reason that he claims to have been approached is because the wife has read his autobiography The Scent of Dried Roses, and the extra things which Lott "reveals" about his own life make it hard to tell which bits are fiction and which real.

One of the themes of the book is that video recordings purport to provide evidence of what happened, but may not tell the whole story. Although the tapes explain some of Seymour's behaviour, it turns out that there were still things he (and Lott) couldn't know just from watching them. This, and the idea that we as a society are becoming more and more closely monitored, was interesting but wasn't in itself enough to make the book really good.

After reading his other novels, I had very high hopes of this one: I was expecting more insight and emotional depth to the story. In fact, I wouldn't have guessed it was a Tim Lott book had I not known. It was OK, but I don't think I'd recommend it.

Completed : 19-Feb-2006

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