Whatever Makes You Happy, William Sutcliffe

9th May 2008 at 01:00
Book - It's tough work, writing novels

It's tough work, writing novels. Those zeitgeists don't sum up themselves, you know. Just when you think you've got one epoch sewn up like a dog's bits - the mid-Eighties say, or 19th-century France - along comes another. Luckily, William Sutcliffe is the equivalent of a one-man literary sweatshop, frenziedly weaving each passing decade into a cheerful scrap of funky, affordable satire.

In 1997, there was Are You Experienced?, which cocked an organic free trade snook at gap year travellers. In 2000, there was The Love Hexagon (a reference to relationship turmoil, not something you'd buy in a pub toilet vending machine) about slutty London commitment-phobes. And now, in 2008, there's Whatever Makes You Happy, aimed at the sort of feckless males who happily sit playing Grand Theft Auto while their mum washes their pants.

The plot centres on Dan, Matt and Paul, three prize specimens of the species, whose mothers decide to move in and civilise them, rather than watch them wander through their thirties wifeless and childless. Cue lots of jolly set pieces enlivened by William Sutcliffe's cheery, if workmanlike, satire. The perfect present for the hapless clod in your life.

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