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Thread: Pro Bono Publico by Emil Miller

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    Pro Bono Publico by Emil Miller

    Pro Bono Publico is a novel about the social and cultural decline of Britain from the post war period to the beginning of Thatcher’s reign. In particular, the overall liberal consensus of the time comes under attack as opposed to any one particular faction (they are but merely different colours of the same fence, the same rotten fence...). Here is a telling paragraph which sums up much of the root of the novel pretty well I think:

    The deterioration in public behaviour had been caused by a naïve belief in the post-war political consensus that, because what had happened in Germany was wrong, the right way to govern a country was to renounce punitive sentencing and rely on the theory of rehabilitation to uphold the rule of law. The significance of this miscalculation was not lost on either the criminal fraternity or the legal profession, for the obvious consequence of such a policy was that criminality would flourish to the benefit of both.
    The novel traces this decline along with the rise in anti-social behaviour and erosion of respect - through the lives of fictional characters (some of which are based on real people) whose own lust for power spreads like a social disease. In a way to represent this change, a sub-plot of the novel explores a mysterious contagion affecting a group of trees which metaphorically decline along with the country at large.

    One major factor of the novel is the narrative form it is written in. Being completely devoid of any dialogue throughout, the novel makes you feel like a helpless observer of such decline, it is as if you are looking through a glass at the action, this is as well done as it is well written.

    It is gloomy subject matter of course, but I found myself nodding along to a lot of what was being said here, as well as enjoying the touches of irony and satire that is sprinkled throughout Pro Bono. The conclusion to the novel is also a smack across the face and perfectly done. It also made me think about the role the trade unions played at this time in British history as well as to reaffirm at lot of my thinking which I have arrived at through my own experiences.

    I am sure there will be those who disagree with some points which the novel raises – even though it is hard to disagree with the factual representation delivered here and few could argue with Britain’s economic decline – but for those who do there will be many points to get you thinking.

    In short, it is a novel I would highly recommend for anyone at all interested British politics, history or the question of social and cultural change. Thumbs up Emil.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pro-Bono-Pub...4868209&sr=8-1

    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

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    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

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    Intriguing. I may have to check this out. The idea of no dialogue sounds particularly interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    Intriguing. I may have to check this out. The idea of no dialogue sounds particularly interesting.
    It is interesting. For me, the lack of dialogue serves to further the social commentary of the book. The social landscape, is after all, the main focus of the novel (which we see slowly unfolding and declining throughout).

    If you do happen to get and read it feel free to post a few thoughts. After reading the Frank Chalk book and now looking at a similar one in the police force, it would seem an apt book to look at again.

    I love the ending of Pro Bono in particular, it's the sudden realisation that hits you, not wanting to give anything away.

    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

    I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
    Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

  4. #4
    I'll avoid that book going by the quote. There's no pictures in the language. Behaviour caused by a belief in a consensus?? That's opaque. No way to unmuddy it. I prefer to bang my head against a brick wall than off a paper brick. Better chance of getting somewhere.

    Little bit of logical cleverness at the end, where both the legal and criminal world benefit each other. That's a good bit, though a little cynical, but it's still completely couched in heavy-going wording.

    I don't mind no dialogue but not in the stead of hammering and droning.

    You found yourself 'nodding along' or nodding off? :-P
    Last edited by nancybella; 06-06-2012 at 06:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancybella View Post
    I'll avoid that book going by the quote. There's no pictures in the language. Behaviour caused by a belief in a consensus?? That's opaque. No way to unmuddy it. I prefer to bang my head against a brick wall than off a paper brick. Better chance of getting somewhere.

    Little bit of logical cleverness at the end, where both the legal and criminal world benefit each other. That's a good bit, though a little cynical, but it's still completely couched in heavy-going wording.

    I don't mind no dialogue but not in the stead of hammering and droning.

    You found yourself 'nodding along' or nodding off? :-P
    I have just noticed your post on Pro Bono Publico and should explain that certain factual passages set the scene against which the fictional elements are enacted.
    There are plenty of 'pictures in the language' as the characters play out their roles covering the 35 years that make up the book's content.
    I don't understand your objection to politicians tailoring their behaviour by being in a consensus: that is the very meaning of the word.
    Still if picturesque language is your prime consideration rather than a story set against a factual description of the UK's political, social and economic decline, then perhaps 'Little Women' would be more suitable to your requirements.
    "Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11th - malicious lies that attempt to shift blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty." George. W. Bush

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