Come Again by Robert Webb

Published 1st October 2021

T.K's review of Come Again

Kate, our protagonist, is employed by the dubious and pretentious Charles as an IT consultant in his online reputation management company [ORM]. Contemplating suicide following the death of her husband Luke to an incurable and hitherto undiagnosed brain tumour, she becomes determined to expose a Russian playboy along with Charles’ corrupt business associations. The threadbare plot then diverts to time travel scenarios where she is transported back to her student days in the 1990’s; it is here that she hopes to prevent the tragic death of Luke by manipulating the course of history.

This is a novel for those who enjoy scatological humour, amateur political satire and the obscuration of predictable slapstick comedy routines akin to the Laurel and Hardy era. I found it a ponderous, tedious, laborious and unimaginative read brimming with extraneous expletives.

The characters are weak and two dimensional; like the crumbling foundations upon which the disintegrating plot is based, they lack substance and credibility.

The opening chapter was initially promising with a tinge of authenticity; however, Webb’s treatment of Kate’s impending suicide appears to regress into a belittling of mental health issues. In his presentation of Charles, he makes a fickle attempt to portray the impact of childhood and adolescent bullying upon the adult personality; however, this too is swiftly ridiculed.

The only positive aspect of the novel is Kate’s perspective on nepotism and corruption; her resolve to expose the affluent in powerful positions seeking to evade justice via ORM is indeed credible and noteworthy.

Webb writes from behind the safety of his mask as a comedian resulting in a disjointed and frivolous narrative; for me this was merely an inconsequential and disappointing extended sketch.

Written by T.K.

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