Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Pretty Poli - the progress

After finishing my germ 'n' gym-based Moby Dick parody 'Amoeba Dick' at the end of March, I took a short break from novel-writing, and spent six weeks undertaking some moderatelyy tiresome DIY on my home. Once I'd got that out of the way, I started work on my next novel.

This is 'Pretty Poli, or Monsieur Perroquet's Ascent to a High Perch'. Superficially, PP is a parrot-based parody of Thomas Hardy's novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'. At a slightly deeper level, it is a satire of the Ferguson Mayoralty of Bristol.

A plot summary:- Hawksmoor Perroquet, an African Grey, suddenly appears in Bristol, accompanied by a budgerigar and their egg. They visit the Anarchist Book Fair in Hamilton House where, under the influence of an intoxicating powder, Hawksmoor sells the budgerigar and egg to a passing ornithologist. When he awakes some hours later with a terrible bastard behind the eyes and a deeply troubled conscience, he repents of his misdeed and makes his way to Club Autonomie in Easton, where he swears on a copy of the Anarchist Bible to forgo intoxicating powder for a period of twenty-one years. Following an unsuccessful search for his wife and egg, he settles in Bristol, and enjoys a successful career as an architect of hipster bars.

Twenty or so years later, Hawksmoor's reputation is both well entrenched and slightly tarnished. He is planning to redevelop the neglected Stokes Croft eyesore Penistone House. In this undertaking, he enjoys the dubious backing of a shady financier Sir Hearty Luncheon, Sir Hearty's sleeping partner Lord Handjob, and the not very helpful input of various local luminaries - the City Director of Poncemaking Dr Mark Wankstein, Don Quixote the booster of wind, Crass Carbonate the champagne socialist community activist, and the latter's consort Miss Ledwitch the colonic irrigationist. The project is complicated by the necessity of demolishing Squattocrat Towers. Hawksmoor is also assailed by the two tier cocaine market which has developed as a result of his policies - the worming powder used as a bulking agent in the crack smoked by his less affluent consituents has caused agranulocytosis and neutropenia to become endemic throughout the loucher suburbs of inner-city Bristol.

And then, one morning, Hawksmoor's wife reappears, with a fledged chick presumed to be his daughter ...

I've written 16,500 words so far. I suspect that, as well as being a parody of the Hardy novel, Pretty Poli may end up with some of the features of Dickens's Gordon Riots novel 'Barnaby Rudge', and some of the scope and sweep of political novels such as Trollope's 'The Way We Live Now' or George Elliot's 'Middlemarch'.

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