Susan Lever reviews 'Off the Record' by Craig Sherborne

With a regular stream of vulgar tweets from President Trump and a tsunami of sexual harassment charges against prominent men, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the nasty side of masculine privilege in our current world. The narcissistic man who manipulates others to satisfy his sense of power has become a recognised figure in public life. Craig Sherborne’s Off the Record is a satire that relies on reader outrage at such behaviour, but it is hard to avoid a sense that he has been unlucky with the timing of this novel. There are times when the large-scale absurdities of the real world can make a satire look tame. The fictional world Sherborne creates is a kind of petty provincial version of the masculine privilege and bullying behaviour we see in the daily news feed.

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Published in March 2018, no. 399