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I shall call her Janet because I have forgotten her name, if I ever knew it, and because the name has acquired over the years an erotic charge. It suggests suburban tidiness, make-up and artificial manners, designed as a surface to disguise lively desire living beneath.
This Janet was no prim one. She came from the edge of the estate, noted for broken windows out of which shouts and screams often issued, and front gardens loaded with cast-offs and heavyweight litter.
She nevertheless qualifies for her suburban pseudonym because she was neat, groomed and sexy, and didn't shout. Or were polyamorists already so damn secure they were naturally good at loving multiple people and I would fail miserably? We are left in no doubt that religion carries a great, maybe even primary responsibility for the abuses suffered by women.
The Europeans carried with them burdens of guilt about sex as sinful except for procreation and women were seen as intrinsically the instruments of Satan. The book is up-to-date enough to include an interview with Dominic Cummings. This is appropriate because much of the historic commentary on Athenian ideas of democracy and the art of politics came from Thucydides — a favourite of the Prime Minister and his adviser.
One doubts they revere the great historian and general as much for his ideals as his grasp of how power is won and sustained, and electorates managed. When an established novelist dips his pen into the satirical inkpot, the result is likely to be interesting. I read this novella in one sitting and by its end was doubtful that anything better could ever be written on the subject: The Cockroach has to be the political satire of our time.