Overexposure - Hugo Rifkind [SKINNYFest 1]

The frothy tone undermines serious intent.

Book Review by Gareth Vile | 14 Aug 2006
Hugo Rifkind earned his spurs as a columnist for GQ, The Times and the Daily Mail. In his first novel he draws on his media experience to create an isolated hero in a glitzy, hollow London. Macauley Lewis covers inane celebrity events for a fictional newspaper, hiding self-doubt beneath hip apathy. When a thief steals jewellery from a starlet, Macauley is drawn into an adventure full of newsroom infighting and sex 'n' drugs decadence.

Rifkind's style is engaging and his anger at the emptiness of the lifestyles of the rich and famous adds bite to the satire, but his characterisation is weak, the conclusion contrived, and what should be dramatic set-pieces come across as mere sketches. All this makes for a witty but disposable novel.

Rifkind has pretensions to a British American Psycho, but horror is replaced by glib mockery. Humour and action keep the pace rapid, but the frothy tone undermines serious intent: an entertaining read that never grapples with the nastiness it reveals.
Published by Canongate. Out Now. Cover Price £9.99

Hugo Rifkind appears with Sam Leith at the the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Writer's Retreat, August 12, 18:00