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Postby Tiny » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:21 pm

"Of course, a more explicit disappearance dominates the book, and rightly so'it dominated the news over those damp months. The unsolved abduction of British toddler Madeleine McCann from a Portuguese holiday resort was a tragic family event that became an epic soap opera and something of a watershed moment for the UK press. Within days of the girl's abduction, the media was commandeered into launching an international hunt for Madeleine ('Little Maddy' in the inevitable tabloid shorthand) before commandeering the case for itself, altering it from the search for a missing child into a media event all of its own. As the case dragged on, the news chatter became less and less about the whereabouts of the child, and more and more about the media response to that initial event. Before the summer had even ended, the 'Disappearance of Madeleine McCann' had become an ever growing hollow circle, with a four-year-old girl as a strange absence at the centre.

In dealing with the McCann case as a novelist, Burn humanises its characters as the media could not, or would ever need, to do. Details of the lives of Kate and Gerry McCann, of their family, friends and associates, are shaded in and brought to life in a way that is simply not possible by an industry now dominated by the pithy soundbite and snappy headline. In an age of celebrity news, Madeleine McCann is the perfect media celebrity. We sympathise with her plight, we feel her hurt and we experience loss without every actually knowing her as a real person. Her disappearance makes Madeleine McCann as ephemeral and as untouchable as the genuine celebrities of old. It is her unreality as a human being that makes her real as an uncanny icon. Disappearances. Absences. Again and again.

As absorbing as it is, the news still cannot deliver one of the key elements of the art of the novel: a singular narrative. Stories hint at possessing a beginning, middle and an end, but cannot deliver all, if any of them. The key storylines in Born Yesterday are appropriately fractured. The Madeleine McCann case remains, in the book, as in life, heartbreakingly unresolved, while the rise of Gordon Brown has several beginnings, all of ambivalent authority"

Looks like an interesting read? ... rdon-burn/
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Postby Dawn64 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:21 pm

I'm somewhat more intrigued by this part of the review, fiction mirroring real life? I think when this is all over we're going to be surprised at how simple and straight forward Madeleines dissappearance actually was and how easily we were sucked into believing wilder and wilder theories!

The key storylines in Born Yesterday are appropriately fractured. The Madeleine McCann case remains, in the book, as in life, heartbreakingly unresolved, while the rise of Gordon Brown has several beginnings, all of ambivalent authority.

For this reason, when a narrative does begin to emerge, it is not formed by the news as reported, but by Burn himself, appearing here as the newest type of media participant: the news junkie. Unable to sleep, Burn's character obsesses over the individual newsbulletin dramas until hidden links emerge to connect the seemingly disparate dramatis personae.

These buried connections run through Born Yesterday like a network of invisible lines. The eye defects suffered by Brown, Little Maddy, Robert Murat (initially suspected as her abductor), and Mullah Omar, of the Taliban; the link from the McCann's Portuguese resort through Paul McCartney, his estranged wife Heather, TV presenter Fiona Phillips and back to Brown; the recurring significance of soft toys, battered through love. The obsessive persistence of these connections and the hidden bonds that link places through time
recalls the psychogeography of Iain Sinclair, and the novel is richer for them.
"A sound head, an honest heart, and a humble spirit are the three best guides through time and to eternity"
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Postby Celtic fairy » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:38 pm

I'm finding this book hard going simply because I can't get through the sickly, thick, sweet burbling love the writer obviously has for Maggie Thatcher. It's cloying prose in this respect I find distasteful. I wouldn't waste me money. BORING.
'That's so plausible I can't believe it.' Leela Futurama
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