David Gee's tongue-in-cheek, if dark, social and sexual satire (a sort of cross between David Lodge and Tom Sharpe) leads us through a topsy-turvy world of sexual shenanigans and unconventional relationships conducted behind the outwardly respectable façade of small town life, a façade which the return of the prodigal son, Paul, cracks wide open, to reveal the unsavoury secrets lurking behind it.
Gee's cynical, somewhat baleful view of human nature could be read as a counterblast to hypocrisy and a salutary reminder of the dire consequences of failure to live life openly and honestly, accepting that, far from being unspeakable aberrations, infidelity, bigamy, sexual-ambiguity, homo- and bi-sexuality, even incest, are all part of the fabric everyday life and should be treated as such. Gee himself has apparently enjoyed (if that's the word) an international jet-setting lifestyle so it is possibly as a result of this that his tone is sometimes jaded and world-weary.
But if this makes The Dropout sound heavy-going and over-earnest, it is in fact, though undeniably often bleak and with a high death-count, also witty, clever, insightful and worldly-wise, with some wry (and often gallows) humour throughout. But there is redemption at the end of the saga, although I won't give away in what form the deus ex machina eventually appears.
by amazon.co.uk review