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The Cartoonist

A novel by

"On days like this he blamed it on the duck": Richard Beard's novel The Cartoonist announces itself in typically elusive, and comic, style. It is Frank Babbitt, supervisor at Yurayama amusement park, who suffers from the "duck" inside his head: "It was a kind of generalised anger unable to express itself, a modern strain of madness inflamed by telephone queues, and traffic jams, and lunatic technology." As the novel opens, Babbitt is conducting interviews for various openings at the park, following a well-worn script: "No-one overweight. No visible tattoos, facial hair, or over-sized ear-rings". He is confronted by one Michael Miller, a man with a false leg and an artificial hand who describes himself as a "dreamer dreaming the dream": a perfect employee for the closed world of Yurayama where language, and experience, is forced to work on behalf of pleasure and profit ("'What do we call queues?' 'Pre-entertainment areas.'"). Against these two, and the nightmare of Yurayama, Beard poses Daniel Travers and the sexual, and rebellious, allure of his cousin, Daphne. Travers meditates on the potential of cartoons: "Exaggerate, squash and stretch, but at all times make sure the drawing remains solid. As for the action, anything can happen". (That could be a description of The Cartoonist itself.) Like Daphne, Travers is also a mouthpiece for the book's vision of corporate and consumer hell: "Buy the hat, the shades, the soundtrack. Disaffection was widely available, almost everywhere, even in Woolworth's." At once witty, and vengefully serious, The Cartoonist is a novel that careers towards its exhausted, and unsettling, conclusion--and casts a host of criticisms and characters along its way. --Vicky Lebeau

Used availability for Richard Beard's The Cartoonist

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Paperback Editions

July 2001 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The Cartoonist
Author(s): Richard Beard
ISBN: 0-7475-5331-9 / 978-0-7475-5331-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 2000 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The Cartoonist
Author(s): Richard Beard
ISBN: 0-7475-4772-6 / 978-0-7475-4772-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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