By Alan Burns
Babel, Alan Burns’s fourth critically acclaimed novel, contains all the hallmarks of the aleatoric style he helped to define – shot through with seemingly random newspaper headlines, poems, snatches of conversation and anecdote, which both heighten and undermine meaning, and characterized by extreme contrasts of mood and style and startling surrealist juxtapositions of images and ideas.
By turns comic and tragic, tender and brutal, religious and blasphemous, the narrative rockets from London to the United States to Vietnam to interstellar space, familiar events are constantly fragmented and reset into new patterns, and ultimately Babel becomes a cautionary tale about the tragedy arising from attempting to build Utopia.
Cerebral audiovisual exercise.
Alan Burns’s novels deserve the attention of serious readers.
David W. Madden
One of the two or three most interesting new novelists working in England.
A trained lawyer, Alan Burns (1929–2013) became a celebrated novelist and playwright, loosely associated with the 1960s British experimental circle of writers led by B.S. Johnson. He is best known for Europe after the Rain (1965), Celebrations (1967), Babel (1969) and Dreamerika! (1972).