Wednesday, 7 February 2001

Robert Rankin: The Brentford Triangle (1982)

Edition: Sphere, 1988
Review number: 746

The second novel in Rankin's series is much like the first, giving the reader more comic insight into the occult reality behind the apparently typic London suburb of Brentford. This time, it is concerned with the connections between the installation of a Space Invaders machine in the Flying Swan pub, an alien spacefleet homing in on an unsuspecting Earth, and the powerful ley lines which form Brentford's boundaries.

Many of the ideas of the series seem to be based on the kinds of things which sometimes come up in silly discussions in pubs - hollow earthers, ley lines, UFOs and so on - and pub culture is very strongly reflected in the novels. The main location in which they are set is the Flying Swan, the characters are mostly the pub regulars. There are absolutely no women characters at all; it is an old fashioned pub culture, from the days before big screen satellite TVs, before pub quizzes, before slot machines, before woman drinkers.

This doesn't stop The Brentford Triangle being very funny, and even quite an enjoyable adventure. It probably helps if the reader is British, so that traditional pub culture is something familiar, nostagic even.

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