Keith Roberts:Molly Zero

The first thing you notice about Molly Zero is that it's written in second-person present. You find this disorienting at first, but eventually you get used to it.

You wonder, at first, why the author uses this form instead of something more typical. Perhaps it's just one of those British New Wave author experimental tricks. But at some point you realize that the use of second-person insidious draws you deeper into the character. Perhaps you don't realize this until the end, when Molly Zero's fate shocks you into numbness for several minutes.

The book takes place in Great Britain, which makes sense since Roberts is a British author. It's character-driven more than plot-driven; you follow Molly Zero from the Blocks, the creche where she grew up, to a small town, to life with the gypsies, and finally to London. The story encompasses Molly's loss of innocence, with plenty of room for comment on bourgeois terrorism, the Gypsy lifestyle, and the isolationist future Molly lives in.

There's a lack of decent male characters in the book. The only ones that appear do so briefly; Paul, Molly's companion from early in the book, becomes less and less likeable as it progresses. But then, there are few male characters in the book at all.

The style is a bit difficult, but can be overcome; the story isn't the happiest, or the most exciting, but Molly is an interesting character. You'll like this book if this is the kind of book you like.

%A Roberts, Keith
%T Molly Zero
%I Victor Gollancz Ltd.
%C London
%D Copyright 1980
%G ISBN 0-575-02832-7
%P 224 pp.
%O Hardcover

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