Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday Salon: Review: THE BAD POLICEMAN

by Helen Hodgman
Allen & Unwin
ISBN: : 18650843502

How do you describe a book that doesn’t fit? How do you say this is a book where nothing momentous happens, yet it does? How do you describe a tragedy that is as funny as it is tragic? How do you nail jelly to a wall?

Constable Blainey is a uniformed police officer stationed in a town 100 kilometres West of Sydney (i.e. The Blue Mountains). He is divorced, lives alone and isn’t close to his only (grown up) son. Blainey is a poet in his spare time. He has had a small book of verse published, but he’s a bit self-conscious about that. He regards his partner, Steve as his only real friend.

THE BAD POLICEMAN is Blainey’s own inner dialogue with himself. The people he meets, the things he witnesses, decisions he makes all pile on top of each other to bring him to where we meet him in the book. He sees corruption around him, both small and large. He debates with himself which he can act on and which he can’t. This leads to even more inner turmoil. We see Blainey as he sees himself, stripped bare of all pretence or facade. What Blainey sees in himself he doesn’t like. A number of things happen that effect his life which leads him to a crisis point.
Blainey takes us through his days from his own point of view. At times his thoughts are confused and confusing; almost stream of consciousness. The book is many things, often funny, sometimes heartbreakingly tragic but it is never dull. THE BAD POLICEMAN poses the obvious question. Is Blainey a bad policeman, a bad man, both or neither? The reader must make up their own mind.

At just 173 pages THE BAD POLICEMAN isn’t a long book, but what it lacks in length it sure makes up for in substance. I found it

1 comment:

Kerrie said...

Sounds good Sunnie. I could do with a shorter read. My latest was 390 pages