Speak for England
By James Hawes
(MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Hardcover, 9781596921412, 338pp.)
Publication Date: August 2005
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MacAdam/Cage is thrilled to publish James Hawes, a brilliant satirist from the UK. His wonderful new novel begins with its protagonist Brian Marley, a divorced, ineffectual teacher, all alone in a jungle about to die on live television. A reluctant contestant on Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Seven Figures, the ultimate reality TV show, Marley has somehow managed to outlive his rivals and win two million pounds. Except that the helicopter sent to bring him back to civilization has crashed, and he's on his own, with a portable camera, at the foot of a monstrously tall cliff. He has no option but to start climbing... To his astonishment, Marley doesn't die, and the world he finds at the top of that cliff is remarkably like an Englishman's version of heaven. There's cricket and rugby, the Union Jack, plucky boys, pretty girls, a tough but fair headmaster?an entire miniature civilization created by the surviving passengers from an airliner which vanished in 1958 carrying a jolly gang of youngsters to a public schools jamboree in Australia. Believing that they were one of the first casualties of World War III, they have survived in their jungle fastness for nearly fifty years, sustained by the Book of Common Prayer and good old English values. Hawes' telling of this tale is as funny as anything he has ever written, but when Brian's rescuers do find him at last, when the world of tabloid journalism confronts that of the Eagle, when the Prime Minister, spotting an opportunity for a sound-bite, meets the Headmaster, the novel shifts gear into a glorious satire worthy of Evelyn Waugh.