Cary quite gloomySCOTLAND ON SUNDAY, May 15, 2005

Books round up

54, Wu Ming, William Heinemann

The Wu Ming Foundation - four anonymous Italian authors - impressed me greatly with their debut novel Q. This new work amply confirms their talent. It is a mammoth series of interlocking narratives that somehow manages to bind together Cary Grant, Tom and Jerry, Marshall Tito, Lucky Luciano, a barman in Bologna known as the Filuzzi King, Emperor Bao Dai and Ian Fleming. It sounds unbelievable, but is utterly convincing. What emerges is an epic about identity and celebrity, communism and corruption. The first line announces the theme: "Postwar means nothing." This is a stupendous, charming, provocative and profound novel. It makes most modern books seem paltry in comparison.