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BabyWorld Paperback – August 8, 2014
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About the Author
Jonathan Martin Dixit is the author of BabyWorld, a crime mystery, soft science fiction novel published in 2014 that explores the psychological dysfunction occurring in families suffering from suppressed trauma. Jonathan grew up in Woodstock, Ontario. Living in Toronto since 1986--save for a three-year honeymoon in Sault Ste. Marie--he has played in a band (The Gravity Show), owned a pub (The Duke of Gloucester), and produced plays and movies (most notably, It All Happens Incredibly Fast - 2002). Visit his author website at jonathanmartindixitauthor.com.
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The first chapter reveals how dense are some of the sentences to be unpicked. “The Pill Trick may have been a contingent cause in moderating Estelle’s state; but doctor-prescribed medication combined with heavy red wine, blocking a mother from entering a daughter’s mind, was the necessary cause effecting the change, Estelle now content with her own mind’s contents.” There are others almost twice that length.
I confess that 9% in I was formulating the hypothesis that the author had created this wildly dysfunctional world in order to justify his current formidable fondness for prolixity. Here is the sentence that brought that thought to a head: “Whereas most, after deriving the same axiom from such epistemological thought experiments, categorized life as mundane, Sinika, not wanting to add to her existential anxiety, performed this morning ritual only to determine which of her concerns had primacy.” At this point I noticed that my kindle was telling me I had another 10 hours and 38 minutes of this stuff to go.
Jonathan Dixit, like his main character nine year old high-flying lawyer Sinika Reichman and myself, loves language and knows a lot of words, but my gentle advice would be not to try to use as many of them as possible in sentences of mind-boggling and arguably secretly self-congratulatory-to-the-point-of-excluding-many-struggling-readers length. I wondered whether this nightmarish future world was in fact a hideously distorted view of the education systems in “developed” societies east and west, in which certain children are selectively “smarted” in order to preserve the privileged status of particular echelons of society: maintaining the status quo in a manner unintelligible to the uninitiated while suffering the effects of alienation from those left behind, many of whom are bitterly resentful of their achievements, rebuking as they do their own more limited genius in the nevertheless essential crafts and trades. Does Jonathan, like Sinika, need understanding and a hug?
As the story went on, it increasingly appeared that Sinika was a kind of genetically modified Alice (at one point also apparently on steroids - beating up a 24 year old non-smarted and admittedly obnoxious male colleague) wandering pathetically and polysyllabically through a Nightmareland in which she encountered hideous situations populated by snarling, self-deluding narcissists, not understanding and not being understood. An early taste/smell of its locations is Little Timmy’s restaurant, Sinika’s favourite watering hole, which has a four-and-under hiring policy: providing employment opportunities for the “poor little failures” (those smarted infants who flunk out of the SMprogram after only one hundred and forty two weeks). One of the waiters attempts to balance a tray while not able to disguise his toddle, nor the fact that his nappy has needed changing for quite some time...
Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the posting of the following review by one non-smarted reviewer: “This book is not worth reading. Period.” I also felt for the fellow author who was striving to be as positive as she could when she typed: “Unfortunately, I could not get through this book no matter how hard I tried.” I, however, made of sterner stuff, pressed on, driven by a weird fascination for this hallucinogenic-drug-fuelled storyline, secure in the self-deluded certainty that eventually it would all make a kind of sense. 90% in, I was offered at least a partial explanation for what had gone before, but still felt shut out by the end.
This is Jonathan Dixit’s debut novel. He’s obviously a very clever fellow, and may indeed turn out to be a formidable writer; but I venture to suggest that this is an immature work by someone who has not yet honed his craft. It fizzes, and explodes in all directions like a dysfunctional firework display staged by someone who hasn’t been able to resist the urge to drop a match into the whole box of tricks, resulting in a tale full of sound and fury, signifying I’m afraid I’m not too sure what.
That said, there are many well-balanced and elegant sentences among the hyper-inflated ones, and much shrewd analysis of human interactions and motivations. I am confident that his next novel will be much better, and I look forward to it.
Unfortunately, I could not get through this book no matter how hard I tried. The author obviously tried very hard to utilize the English language in a flowery sense, but I honestly believe it slowed down the story. The sentences were too long and description too verbose, which broke up the flow of the story. I counted 76 words in one sentence. That is amazing-- and unnecessary. By the time I got to the next line of dialogue, I needed to back track and re-read because I was distracted by the narrative.
If you like descriptive settings, this book could be for you. Please view the preview and decide for yourself. My opinion is only one person's and may differ greatly from your own.
Baby World is set in 2067. Whatever you thought the world might be like by then, Baby World encourages you to reconsider your vision of the future and your past. Nothing is ever quite what it seemed.
Baby World is an enjoyable read, with intriguing ideas but you should pay special attention to the details at the beginning so you understand the world Dixit has woven for you.
The writing is soaked with intelligence, sharp wit and healthy sarcasm - it felt real.
A great read!