David Caute The Times Literary Supplement - Essay

The Times Literary Supplement

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There are embarrassing similarities between David Caute's ambitious novel [The Decline of the West] and the contemptible tales of Harold Robbins. It is enormously long, dealing in a pseudo-realistic manner with more continents and societies than any man could hope to know intimately; several of the characters are papier-maché versions of real public figures, newspaper clippings pasted together round a damp mould; the stress on torture and maltreatment, though doubtless well-meaning, can provide a shameful erotic stimulus; wish-fulfilment is too overtly in evidence; there is nowhere to go for a laugh. These are bad signs. The best that can be said for it is that it's politically sound—and this verdict, by its...

(The entire section is 569 words.)