George Paxton is a carver of funeral stones. Being a decent man George needs to ensure that his daughter is safe in a world of nuclear proliferation and wants to buy her a Scopas anti radiation suit. As George’s wife has just been fired from her job at a pet shop for ‘blowing up’ a tarantula, the cost has become prohibitive. George is then approached by an old woman whom he assumes at first to be a ghost. She sends him off to meet with a Mad Hatter character who sells him a golden Scopas suit but also makes him sign a document which implicates him in starting World War III. World War III duly begins as George is travelling home. And thus begins this peculiar and very disjointed novel.
That plot description is from a reviewer named Roddy Williams.
I found the first half interesting, filled with intriguing ideas, an examination of what the world and society might look like as it prepares for the next Big War. But it bogs down in the beating-to-death of the idea of how we each are individually responsible for what happens generally and globally. It devolved into some fantastical scenes of a shop reappearing in difference continents, and finally a tedious trial where those who never were born take to task George as a representative of all mankind and its killing ways.
For me, definitely a meh book. My Dearly Beloved, however, liked it. Which just goes to show why there is vanilla, chocolate pistachio, and yes, even chili, ice cream.