The London Pigeon Wars
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
June 1, 2004
Trade Paperback/323 pages
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"Though the backdrop and larger themes echo familiar territory, Pigeon Wars is anything but derivative."
"Readers may find Neate's voice an acquired taste, in turns amusing and difficult."
Fans of city-centered contemporary fiction will find an unusual spin on the traditional format in Patrick Neate''s The London Pigeon Wars.
Neate''s novel focuses on "twirty-somethings" a neat phrase describing the twenty- to thirty-year-old set of characters struggling to find jobs, identities, and love. The roster of Londoners includes Tariq and Emma, Tom and Karen, Kwesi, Freya, and Ami. Though the backdrop and larger themes echo familiar territory, Pigeon Wars is anything but derivative.
When the "twirty-somethings" elusive college friend, Murray, comes back to town after a mysterious decade-long absence, his style of fun dominoes into a strange set of events. In a plot that transcends the quirky and delves firmly into the bizarre, Murray awakens the inner longing in each of the characters, highlighting their dreams and longings of yesteryear, and how they''ve each somehow gotten lost along the way.
Readers may find Neate''s voice an acquired taste, in turns amusing and difficult. Particularly disarming are the chapters told from the viewpoint of London''s pigeons, where battle lines are drawn and fought, reflecting the unrest and malcontent of the non-winged people below.
Full of loose commentary, witty ripostes, and very British dialogue, The London Pigeon Wars comes across as clever and distant, but always unique.
Reviewer: M. K. Daniels