Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Triumph of Gallio

In my humble opinion "The Triumph of Gallio" by Walter Lionel George is one of the most underrated novels of the 20th Century. This is my poor attempt at a review of this superb novel first published in 1924.

"A Vision of Sin" dealt with the disillusioned cynic in the abstract; Tennyson wrung beauty from the pain and ended on a note of hope. In "The Triumph of Gallio" George deals with the disillusioned cynic in the concrete. There is neither beauty nor hope. The book is hideously powerful, arrestingly interesting, devastatingly clever, brutally coarse. After reading it men may like themselves the less and women may like men the less, unless they realise that the self-revealing Tarrant is made, not born, and that he is an intellectual Robot rather than a man. Tarrant is a young hired demagogue disillusioned with democray, then a pedlar; later a millionaire ship owner, later a bankrupt. At the end, once more a pedlar, he has stocked his pack with his runaway wife's trinkets and is walking fast to outdistance poor, faithful, pursuing Paula - the only woman he has ever loved - on his way to some no-man's land of consciousness where nothing can hurt him.
Find it, buy it, read it.