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Book 4

  1. Amis, Martin — London Fields (471 pages)
  2. Morpurgo, Michael — War Horse (182 pages)
  3. Winterson, Jeanette — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (177 pages)
  4. Robinson, Bruce — Paranoia in the Launderette (43 pages)
Page count
873

Bruce Robinson wrote the screenplay for and directed the cult-classic Withnail and I and the recent adaptation of The Rum Diaries, which since I've seen neither had absolutely no bearing on my desire to read this piece. (I'm not sure whether to call Paranoia in the Launderette a novella, a novelette, or a long short story.) I first read about it in a Guardian article and it seemed interesting, but I was surprised by how short it was.

I assume the events of this story are fictional but inspired by Robinson's life. The plot is simple: The narrator has become paranoid while working on a project about serial killers, receives a call from his literary agent telling him he must meet some mysterious publishing bigwig in an hour, has no clean clothes, and is forced to visit a launderette. He has been avoiding launderettes because of some phobia intensified by his one prior visit and is freaked out by everything.

All hilarity ensues, only the hilarity is merely amusing. I did smile a few times, but when I reached the end, I wondered, "Is that it?" It felt as though something (or a lot of somethings) were missing.

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