Review: Alice in Brexitland, Lucien Young

Umm. Yes. So. I read this. A year on and I’m still not thrilled about Brexit. I have a friend who is involved with working on it and I have absolute confidence that they are doing the best that they can, I can understand the positive arguments from the other side but as a French graduate, I still feel a sense of mourning. I’m living in a country that isn’t what I thought it was. However. I get really queasy about Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was weird and creepy and took inappropriate pictures of children and over the past few years, a couple too many people have told me that it represents some form of grooming for me to be able to see it as a piece of innocent whimsy. But it does capture something of the black-is-white-double-think which has come to dominate a lot of the mainstream political rhetoric over the past year, so I tried to come to Alice in Brexitland with an open mind.

It is an undoubtedly clever piece of work.  Alice goes down the rabbit-hole following the White Rabbit called Dave Camerabbit who has caused all this mess and meets the Corbynpillar, Trumpty-Dumpty (the egg who tweets!), the Cheshire Twat who leaves behind only a grin and his pint and the Queen of Heartlessness who will fly into a rage if her plans are questioned.  She sees the Daily Murdoch who screams hatred and the Gordian who is much more reassuring but rather smug.  Alice meets Tweedleboz and Tweedlegove and witnesses as one of them stabs the other in the back.  While the prose attempts to fizz with playfulness, there is a deep anger seething beneath the text that stops it from being quite the light and amusing read it tries to be.

Reading this, seeing the absurdity of Lewis Carroll merged with the absurdity that was last June – well – it felt incredibly depressing.  When one considers the lies, self-interest and then extra lies that went into the campaign, any result was going to cause pain and sow discord.  We will just have to live with the consequences but I find it difficult to laugh at them.  As Alice wakes up on the riverbank and discovers it was all a dream, I felt unreasonably irritated, jealous of her hearing a Remain result.  And then peeved on top when Young proclaims rather inartistically that all of the celebrities who died last year are alive once more. We are through the Looking Glass but I don’t care to be reminded in this way.

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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alice in Brexitland by Lucien YoungLeavis Carroll
Published by Random House on June 1st 2017
Genres: Humor, Form, Parodies, Topic, Politics, Fiction, Humorous, General, Political Science, Political Process, Campaigns & Elections, World, European, International Relations
Pages: 112
ISBN: 9781473551985

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5 thoughts on “Review: Alice in Brexitland, Lucien Young

  1. Interesting, I agree with you on your views on Brexit and ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The parody sounds rather forced, the ending seems like just bad taste. Giving it 3 stars seems rather generous on your part.

    The whole remain/leave campaign just highlighted a problem of democracy – can everyone be entrusted to make such important decisions that will have yet to be known ramifications on the whole nation.

  2. Yeah, seems super depressing (although that trumpty-dumpty is great :D). I don’t even know what will happen to us when Brexit comes – my boyfriend is English and he lives in my country. I don’t know if he’ll be allowed to stay. It’s been a source of great stress for us :/

    1. Only just spotted these comments – my family is scattered across Europe and it is a real problem. One family member has claimed Spanish citizenship and a few others of us are considering claiming Irish passports. A real mess .

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