‘Has anyone seen the other half of this baby?’ he asked. ‘We mustn’t count it twice.’For the rest, clickety-click here.
It’s a moment to make even the most hardened reader of gory novels wince, but O’Loughlin is not in the business of sensationalism. Simmons bears witness to what seems at times a daily litany of tragedy, but does so in a clipped, understated fashion. The novel has been compared with the works of V.S. Naipaul and Graham Greene, but there’s a measure of Ernest Hemingway here too. The prose is muscular and delicate, the mark of a writer who knows his own strength and is sure of his aim. In the chaos of a jungle fire-fight, ambushed by the latest in an interminable series of half-naked rebel forces, Simmons observes a jeep make “a slow and sedate turn towards us, part-sheltered by the hulk of the armoured car … its indicator piously winking.”
For a Q&A with the man, clickety-click here.