The Suburbs of Hell
Heinemann, $17.95 pb
Randolph Stow’s latest novel, The Suburbs of Hell, may be read as a simple whodunit: a simple allegorical Whodunit. Like Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, like David Lodge’s Small World, this novel sets out to intrigue the reader. The new genre, nouvelle critique, teases the reader’s vanity, the reader’s erudition at the same time as it engages with questions of a metaphysical kind – the nature of truth, reality, and for those concerned with literature – the purpose of writing today.