Leopold Broom Investigates… Alan Moore’s Jerusalem
by Lee Cross
I feel utterly compelled to write about Alan Moore’s EPIC Novel Jerusalem… the problem is I don’t have a bloody clue where to start.
Epic, I said that already, I fucking hate stuff like that – ‘Epic! A Triumph!!!’ (Tabloid book reviews always seem to an equal ratio of words to exclamation-marks.)
‘Magnus Opium’ (uneducated chancer that I am, I have no idea what this means…. It sounds like an ice-cream, though… a really, really good ice-cream)
‘Tour De Force’??? What like the Tour De France… you know the bike race? …Lance Armstrong, yellow jerseys and all that jazz…
Actually, there you go, I’ve rambled into a beginning…
“Alan Moore’s Jerusalem is a literary Tour De France… there’s incredible bunch sprints… nearly insurmountable mountainous climbs, where the players express themselves to be creations of incredible craftsmanship… constantly breaking new ground and going places never gone before”.
BUT… let me just reiterate that… BUT!
“The bloody thing takes weeks to get through… it’s impossible to follow completely from start to finish, and quite honestly only a lunatic would try (said a lunatic)… for whole days the bloody thing just meanders tediously around country roads… and THE WORST THING is the feckin ending! – on the last day of competition, everyone just shakes hands with the winner and lets him cruise home, drinking champagne and congratulating himself on an incredible achievement.”
I probably should have written the negative stuff first, with the positive to follow, because I’ve given the impression I don’t like the book, which I do. Parts are simply breath-taking; the morality of the tales, the varying simplicity, and complexity of the realities in which the stories exists, the wonderful philosophical and theological ideas, the attention to detail….
I could go on and on; the skill in the writing is that of a master storyteller, did I say I liked Jerusalem? That’s not strong enough – I loved it!
By gosh though, the book is long. So, so long. I spent 100+ hours reading this book, and I felt every one of them. It fades in and out of greatness, with every single chapter feeling like a reboot, breaking your reading rhythm, like an effective fresh start, which is probably why the book feels so compartmentalized in my mind.
I hope some of my friends read Jerusalem because I’d love to spend an afternoon, over drinks, talking it out (ditto if anyone wants to message me here with your thoughts), and just externalizing our opinions on the book.
Obviously, I know plenty of passionate bookworms, I’m just not sure any my friends are sheer bloody-minded enough to get through it.
I hope you read this blog and decide to read Jerusalem too.
(Note: After three solid weeks of Alan Moore, I read The Utopia Experiment by Kyle Mills, which I went through like a fucking takeaway menu. I knew everything in it was crap and probably bad for me, but my mind just wanted it after a long hard slog… and I loved every greasy, re-heated minute of it)