Having studied The Enlightenment and philosophy as part of my first year at university I was intrigued to learn of The Karma Farmers by Pierre Hollins.
My grateful thanks to blogger and organiser Anne Cater of Random Things for inviting me to be part of the celebrations of this novel.
Published by Unbound, The Karma Farmers is available for purchase here.
The Karma Farmers
Bradley Holmeson a thirty-something bookshop manager, is attempting to cure his existential dilemma with quantum physics. A reluctant philosopher embroiled in an occult experiment, he meets the violent, the obsessed and the dangerously misguided, armed only with his defensive sarcasm – all to win back the woman he loves.
My Review of The Karma Farmers
My goodness, The Karma Farmers isn’t an easy book to categorise and it’s none the worse for that quirkiness and originality. Having studied philosophy as part of my degree The Karma Farmers is a book I think will appeal to readers on many, many levels. It’s part allegory, part love story, part mystery, part scientific and philosophical treatise and part religious (or non-religious) guide! I like the way the title reflects the gathering of philosophical ideas and the ‘farming’ of them into something personal by the characters.
Whilst the plot has elements that tricked and occasionally confused me (particularly Brad’s second edition work, despite having studied Kant and the Enlightenment) it has a fascination that ensnares the reader, even if it occasionally bewilders them too. I thought the inclusion of Brad’s online work was a touch of genius. My own thinking was challenged and developed as a result of reading The Karma Farmers. I’m not sure if Brad’s aspirations mirror those of Pierre Collins, but I felt there was an honesty as well as a cleverness behind the writing. I have to admit to liking the shortness of each part of the narrative as I needed time to contemplate the story, look for the implied as well as obvious meanings and process what I’d just read. I’m not sure I thoroughly understood all the references and theories and I felt quite inadequate as a reader at times. However, this isn’t a negative of the book. I think it’s good that we have narratives that promote thinking without mindless acceptance and there’s a good story here to get your teeth into as well.
I found Pierre Collins’ style really visual so that I could see the settings and characters very clearly in my mind. His use of the vernacular and direct speech alongside the continuous present tense give pace and realism too so that at times it was like watching a film as much as reading a book. I enjoyed the humorous touches too. I coud easily see The Karma Farmers as an offbeat BBC 4 television production with a cult following.
The Karma Farmers is clever, witty, entertaining and thought provoking – a real chimera of a book that will polarise readers. I’ll be interested to see what happens next.
About Pierre Hollins
Pierre Hollins is a stand up comedian; he has written for TV and radio, and his cartoon strip GURU featured in the Fortean Times for many years. This is his first novel, published by Unbound.
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