Five bitchy remarks in response to The Lambs of London:
1. I cannot keep Peter Carey and Peter Ackroyd straight in my head. Both of them write books that sound like I would love them, and then I never love them. So I am doing like Mother Jaguar. I graciously wave my tail, and I shall call it Peter Carkroyd. And I shall leave it alone.
2. Can’t not mention this when talking about Peter Carkroyd because it is horrifying. Peter Carkroyd is also notable for writing the book Oscar and Lucinda, which was made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes. The film is narrated by someone who calls Oscar “my grandfather”, so all the way through the movie you assume that awkward Cate Blanchett and awkward Ralph Fiennes are eventually going to get together, to produce the father of the narrating grandchild. But does that happen? NO! Awkward Ralph Fiennes gets very ill taking a church-on-a-raft to the Amazon or the Australian outback or someplace and finally flops limply and near death into a settlement, and a woman in the settlement is like “Oh, poor dear, I will take care of him,” and he’s all “I’m near death” and she takes him home and rapes his semiconscious self and the next morning he goes into the church-on-a-raft to pray for forgiveness for seducing the woman (this takes place way back in the day before they knew about sex), and the church-on-a-raft sinks and he drowns. And then the end of the movie is, like, the narrator turns out to be this old guy telling this story to his own granddaughter, who is, like, ten years old. Not cool, Peter Carkroyd and assorted film people. Not cool. And scarred me and Social Sister for life.
3. Charles and Mary Lamb, the fictionalized subjects of The Lambs of London, are people who just don’t interest me. I don’t know why. Mary Lamb went crazy and stabbed her mother in the throat, and Charles Lamb had to look after her for the rest of his life. I love craziness, and I love devoted brothers. Why I wouldn’t be interested in a) them or b) a novel about them is beyond me. But it’s true. I don’t care about Charles and Mary Lamb. I just don’t.
4. The other historical storyline in The Lambs of London is about William Henry Ireland, the famous Shakespeare forger who forged a ton of documents in Shakespeare’s hand and eventually got caught. I actually am interested in this, but Peter Carkroyd dealt with it so boringly and with so little insight or novelty that by the end of the book I was actually less interested in William Henry Ireland than I was when I started.
5. Peter m.f. Carkroyd. Why do we even let you write books?