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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Book Review: "Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals" by Jesse Armstrong

Like many who pick up this novel, I was enticed by the fact the author is co-writer of the Peep Show. From the opening pages I already recognised elements of the socially awkward Mark Corrigan in the protagonist of the novel, Andrew. The first person narrative allows for the airing of thoughts in a highly amusing manner.

Having met student Penny, a well-to-do activist desperate to do something about the conflict in Bosnia, Andrew is quickly roped into a trip abroad to spread the message of peace. Much of the comedy comes from the conflict between Andrew's working class background and the group of pretentious students he finds himself with. He is able to recognise the flaws in his contemporaries.

Armed with supplies for refugees and a fairly shoddy draft of a play promoting peace, the students set off in a van and make their way to Bosnia. All goes relatively smoothly when they offer the right bribes and there is still a fair amount of time for drinking, sex, and drug taking (Penny's wayward brother Von has a seemingly unending supply). Among this mess of failed relationships, and crushes on other members of the group, Andrew is desperate to solidify his chances with Penny, which means sabotaging the ardent poet Simon as he attempts to make his advances.

Of course, when the group finally perform the peace play, which leads to a supposed coup, it becomes clear that their moral calling may not run as deeply as they first thought...

Andrew's internal monologue is what makes this story enjoyable, though plot-wise I was hoping for something more. However, if you find the Peep Show hilarious and feel like an easy read, this is the book for you.

Buy the book: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals

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