Read 29 February – 2 March 2012
My rating 4 / 5
Stone Bleeding is a look at ‘broken Britain’ and tells a tale of how our reality TV and celebrity obsessed culture is one step away from this brutally painted picture of life.
Anyone with a passing interest or basic study of politics will recognise Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ in the early pages of this book, the effect that a lack of social contracts bring and the return of man’s base instinct; leading to a life that:
“In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; [….] no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”
Mardell litters his book with references to Hobbe’s theory of the state of nature and does a good job of showing us what this might look like in Britain today. That said, that I’m afraid that I don’t quite share Mardell’s vision that things would disintegrate quite so quickly, buy who knows? It’s certainly an important tale of morality.
The book is told in three ‘verses’, Zach, Albie and Archie. Each character had a role to play in the breakdown of the country, and each story is interlinked. I’d have liked to have seen a more individual voice for each of the three characters; for me they didn’t feel sufficiently different. However, they were each interesting, and Albie was, for me, the more profound of the three voices; the quotes from her father were the most interesting, and I’m sure can be linked back to various political philosophers.
For a county obsessed by celebrity, this is an important story. We’re currently in the midst of the Leveson Enquiry into media ethics, and this book clearly shows the role that the media have; they can make or break a Government. Archie himself notes that he is just a puppet, and that ‘they wash each others’ backs and be adults about it’.
The end of the book is interesting, and thought provoking. About a quarter of the way through Archie’s verse I began to think that Archie and Zach were one and the same person; but who knows. I’m still not sure. I can see, in my mind, the arguments for them being the same person (and there is references made about Zach’s personalities) but who knows. Not me. And that, I think, is the mark of a great book; it makes the reader continue to think long after the final page has been turned.
To buy this book visit amazon.com or amazon.co.uk. Why not follow Russell on twitter – @russellmardell of perhaps take a look at his website for more info?
If you do read Stone Bleeding, post a comment and let me know what you think