Hopeful Monsters

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The English author Nicholas Mosley published his first novel, SPACES OF THE DARK, in 1951. Since then, Mosley has built a reputation as an author of novels where philosophical and/or moral constructs are thoroughly examined. He has been labeled as “experimental” because of his willingness to change his style of writing in order to illuminate his subject matter. HOPEFUL MONSTERS is most certainly a novel of “ideas.” In his own unique way, Mosley can be compared favorably with other major novelists of ideas such as Thomas Mann, Albert Camus, Gunter Grass, and Milan Kundera. HOPEFUL MONSTERS won Great Britain’s 1990 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

The novel is part of Mosley’s “Catastrophe Practice” series, the overriding premise of which is that individuals must learn to cope or deal with catastrophe if they expect to survive. It is the fifth novel of the series to be published, but in the chronological scheme of the series it belongs at the beginning. Mosley began the series in 1979 with the publication of CATASTROPHE PRACTICE, which now properly must be placed as the concluding volume.

The two primary characters of HOPEFUL MONSTERS are Eleanor Anders and Max Ackerman. Eleanor is a half-Jewish German girl who is being reared by her parents in Berlin; Max is English and is studying at Cambridge. The world around them is rapidly changing. They meet by chance in the late 1920’s and fall in love. Max and Eleanor alternate...

(The entire section is 434 words.)