The inflatable citizen opens with the central character trying to commit suicide. The phone rings. Naturally, he answers. The caller asks if this is a bad time. Not at all, he says. From this point on he is far too busy to kill himself. Meet Judas, a feckless thirty something whose past is littered with wrecked love affairs, his father an atheist who lurks outside churches telling people it’s mad to speak to the invisible man. All his life his mother has told him the maternal instinct is a fiction. His only two friends offer what help they can, but it’s not much: Edward is claustrophobic and agoraphobic at the same time; Doris is a drunken, 60-a-day sexaholic cokefiend, and the only woman Judas knows who is still speaking to him. The phone call informs him that the daughter Judas never knew he had has disappeared. For some reason, Judas has to locate her and while searching he begins to find small reasons to live, particularly in the people he meets: Billy the shy burglar who secretly installs stolen goods in the house belonging to the woman he loves; Onie, a man whose pornography habit has grown so out of control he fast-forwards through sex scenes to get to the plot sections; and Eve, the perfect woman who is so beautiful, intelligent and kind that no one can stand her.

Amazon has a listing for Robert McLiam Wilson’s long-awaited (so long-awaited that no one is waiting for it any more except me) fourth novel, The Extremists. It was scheduled to be released in 2006.


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