on April 4, 2000
How's this for a recipe? Take a all the decadent 80's glitz and glamor of "American Psycho" and "Wall Street" and mix it with a good helping of the Faust legend and the book of Revelation and you get . . . . The Quorum. In Mr. Newman's brilliant alternative late 20th century all power is wielded from behind the scenes by Derek Leech--the incarnate Devil who presides over the death of civilization in his ultramodern office complex that resembles a shiny black pyramid. The currency of the cosmos is pain and to get ahead you must suffer to show yourself worthy--or CAUSE suffering. Leech doesn't care. Three young college students strike up a bargain with Leech. The price of their sucess will the torment and degradation of their "friend," Neil. As long as he is in agony, their careers (writing, television, art, etc.) will soar. They will rule the 1980s; have everything their greedy hearts desire while Neil is framed for crimes, pusued by terrorists and loses every lover, job, home and bit of money that comes his way.
But now its the 90s and its time for the three lucky fellows to pay the bill. Just like in Dr. Faustus, the fun can't last forever. A deal with the Devil never quite turns out the way you'd planned.
on March 15, 2000
Newman does a spectacular job in this book. His pace is frenetic, but his writing style is definitely worth it. I could not put the book down, and in fact I would recommend reading it many times, because each time more of the writing, allusions and turns of phrase come into focus.
The setting is a haunting premise. Would you betray and undermine your best friend, enjoying success commensurate with his/her setbacks? And if so, what are the exact parameters of the deal?
The novel paces briskly through the idealism and innocence of youth, the counter-culture of the 70's, the excess of the 80's, and the responsibilities of the 90's.
Finally, the writing itself is crisp, lucid, and quickly permeates your own thought process; I found myself thinking in Cockney slang after I had finished the book.
Definitely time and money well spent.
on December 12, 2000
I will put this to you straight. I could not understand this book. The author uses as little as possible detail, and expects you to fill in the spaces, but that does not work for me. It was like reading a different language.