Book Review

Q: Dance of Death by Luther Blissett

Q: Dance of Death by Luther Blissett

Shortlisted for The Independent's Foreign Fiction Prize 2004.

Luther Blissett? Wasn't he one of England's first superstar Black footballers scoring a hat-trick on his international debut? And over 500 appearances for Watford? And one of the first black footballers to play in Italy, for AC Milan? Now coaching at York? Yup, that's him! And, also, the "group name" adopted by a number of Italian anarchist malcontents and revellers (plenty of excellent information at The brilliant wikipedia says, "Luther Blissett is a multiple identity, a nom de plume that anyone is welcome to use for activist and artistic endeavour. Other multiple identities in use include Monty Cantsin, Karen Eliot and Michael K. These multiple names were developed and popularized in artistic subcultures of the 1970s to 1990 like Mail Art, Neoism and post-situationist discourse, with the pseudonym Rrose Sélavy jointly used by Dada artist Marcel Duchamp and the surrealist poet Robert Desnos forming a historical pretext." So, there you go. And then four of them wrote a novel ...

The "author" is a wildly authoritarian concept and four anarchist authors writing a book about the rise and fall of Thomas Muntzer and the disastrous People's Republic of Munster is, perhaps, a tiny bit bonkers. But Q is great! It is long, and didactic, heavy on the history and the speeches but, for me, that was a bonus, never a negative.

Q is the working name of a papal informer and heretic hunter who attempts to keep a lid on the Reformation, on Anabaptist radicalism and on his nemesis Gert, an idealist who is wrapped up in the heady events: it is 1517 and Martin Luther has just nailed his 95 theses (demanding reform of the Catholic Church) to the door of the Wittenberg cathedral church ...

-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 18/07/2005

Further Information
ISBN-10: 0434010006
ISBN-13: 9780434010004
Publisher: William Heinemann
Publication Date: 01/05/2003
Binding: Hardcover
Number of pages: 528

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