by John Elliott
Publication Date: 17th Oct, 2012
Paperback, 374 pages
“Tired of the Tarot? Ideologically opposed to I Ching? Face down your anxieties through rigged events. Live imaginary histories with our connivance.”
If someone keeps changing identities do they end up as no one? This question undercuts the assumed characters connected with Chance Company, an organisation evolved from 1960s roots to become a corporate entity in the 1980s, a pre-internet Second Life, the function of which is to allow clients to take a vacation from their own life in another, fabricated life. At the centre of the book, the labyrinthine search of a daughter to find an errant father involves her in the internal conflicts of Chance Company’s creation myth and history.
Against a dark, atmospheric background of Europe, the USA, South America and North Africa, themes of exile, real and self-imposed, and the consequences of being on the losing side politically are played out in a shifting underworld where mysteries and crime are never far from the surface. The questionable nature of memory haunts the narrative, with the burdens of the past threatening the characters’ full embrace of their present and the future. Other stories and texts intervene along the way, illuminating and re-routing the threads of the novel’s progress. Human pages are the result.
About The Author
John Elliott was born Glasgow 1938. As well as ‘Scotland making him’, he has lived in Spain and Paris and worked as an Assistant Film Editor, a night telephonist and in the Unemployment Benefit Service.
A persistent jazz and improvised music listener, he now resides in Twickenham. His second novel, Dying to Read, was published by Chômu Press in 2011. Human Pages is his third.
“It’s always such a joy to read a novel which is truly original. John Elliott’s book is fast paced and funny, the plot intrigues, and the characters — many so inventively named — leap off the page.”
“Dying to Read is a marvellous slide along the high tension wires of a vast imagination with nothing but a frayed belt to keep you above the intertextual chasm. Gut wrenching potboiler, postmodern farce, metafictional improvisation, genuinely wicked satire, it perfectly fuses hot momentum with cool profundity, making extensive use of slick dialogue and puzzling plot devices. A major delight to read and savour!”
Praise for Human Pages:
“John Elliott is a stylist of a high order and Human Pages is a novel of great style. One of the best contemporary novels I have read in some time.”
Audio interview with John Elliott:
Hear John Elliott talk about Human Pages, amongst other things, at the following link: