The Peacock Manifesto


By Stuart David.

My friend Alessandro sent me two of Stuart David’s books for my birthday the other week. I was interested to see what they would be like as Stuart David had once been in Belle and Sebastian and then went on to form the band Looper who are great. The first book I read was ‘Nalda Said’ which was ok. It was an easy read and it didn’t really draw me in. The same can’t be said for the Peacock Manifesto which I thought was very good. It was a picaresque journey across the States but very different to what James Kelman did a couple of years later with ‘You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free‘. The Peacock Manifesto was funny and the characters were brilliant. There was some reference to it being made into a movie and I can see why. There were a few moments where it could have become serious but it maintains its levity throughout. That’s not to say it isn’t substantial – it just doesn’t fall into the plot trap that many novels do: everything is amusing and then there is a crisis and the characters have to grow up and deal with a serious situation. Aspects of the plot are left unsaid – I like this as well. The only thing I would say is that you can see the final pivotal action coming a mile off and you know roughly what it will be. Something completely surreal would have been better – but that is probably just me. Definitely worth reading. The three main characters of Peacock, Bev and the Wee Man are really strong and memorable. I am tempted to write a new novel with these three in it just so I can have more happen to them.

Soundtrack: Belle and Sebastian ‘The State I am In’.

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