by Hari Kunzru


I always enjoy Hari K’s writing, loved Transmission, loved The Impressionist, but this latest, Gods Without Men is not one of his best. Much of it is good, some of it is very good indeed, but an awful lot more of it is just pedestrian.

The story covers several places in time and space, each told from a different character’s point of view, some were engaging, some rather dull. It rarely works when the opening character turned out to be not really important to the rest of the plot, it certainly didn’t work for me here, I was just getting interested in Nicky – a runaway rock star whose career has hit a rocky patch – when he faded into the background scenery after chapter one. The true central characters, Jas and Lisa – a rich young couple with an autistic son and a struggling marriage – failed to fascinate me, I found them stale and stereotypical. The tale of hippie-Dawn and her life with the cult of the Ashtar Galactic Command was more interesting, but ultimately disappointing, because her story didn’t seem to go anywhere, either.

I do love Hari Kunzru’s writing and the writing in Gods Without Men sparkles as always, but the plot and the structure didn’t really work for me; my least favourite Hari Kunzru novel to date.