The Crying Game, by John Braine

Written in 1968, but "set in the near future", this is about Frank Batcombe, newspaper journalist, who lives in a world characterised by a very liberal attitude to drink, sex, and, to some extent, drugs. He's given an assignment which involves covering a story about an MP who's having an affair.

Rather like Joe Lampton, he has some insight into the sordidness of his life, although he's perhaps a bit more moral that Joe in that he does occasionally try to do the right thing.

I imagine that in 1968 this would have been quite a racy book: this is only 8 years after the Lady Chatterly trial. Not that there's much explicit sex, but the way that Frank describes his sexual conquests is very casual - perhaps a bit self-consciously over-casual: I get the feeling that Braine is trying to be a bit controversial here. It is a book of its time though in the way that the newspaper handles the MP story: they know about the affair, but don't consider that they can break the story by themselves; rather, they build up as much information as possible so that they can be ready when the MP himself announces his marriage split.

On the cover of the book, there's a quote saying it's his best "since Room at the Top". Sadly, I'd imagine it probably says that on all his books, since this wasn't nearly as good as RatT. Moderately interesting to read, but I wouldn't bother again.

Completed : 17-Jul-2008

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