by Jesse Armstrong - £12.99 Vintage (Jonathan Cape Ltd) (2015)
hardback ISBN 13: 9780224097345 | ISBN 10: 0224097342
A group of well-intentioned students head into a war zone, armed only with 'the power of theatre' - the first novel from the BAFTA Award-winning writer of Peep Show and The Thick of It.
It’s 1994 and the former Yugoslavia is being torn apart. In England, a gang of good-hearted young people are about to set off in a Ford Transit van armed with several sacks of rice and a half-written play. A play which will light a beacon of peace across the Balkans and, very probably, stop the war.
Andrew would love to stop the war. He has one of the most comprehensively developed personal foreign policies of anyone working on a building site in the Greater Manchester area. He feels everyone should have a foreign policy, really. What sort of person doesn’t have a foreign policy? But what he’d like to do – maybe even more than stopping the war – is sleep with Penny, who he is pretty sure might be the love of his life.
But does Penny like him? Or does she love Simon, his rival, an irritatingly authentic Geordie poet? Or Shannon, the fierce, inspiring American leader of the troupe? Who exactly loves who? And what’s the safest way to make it out of a minefield should you accidentally wander into one? And what do you talk to a mercenary about? And is a bad thing really a bad thing if it maybe leads to a good thing?
It could all take a while to work out, as the gang cross Europe and head into the war zone.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2015)