I’ve read a couple of John Braine books just for the namesake. But The Vodi sits just below my favourite book, The Wasp Factory, in a top ten by John Harrison*. Funnily I just did a search for this top ten and came to a post on this blog that I’d forgotten about. I knew I started this book ages ago, but didn’t realise it was about 5 years ago! Not being as convenient as Audiobooks or Kindle books, it only got read when I was sick or on holidays. But I finished it at last!
The Vodi is an imaginary race of childhood creatures conjured up between two school friends, Tom and Dick (amazingly there’s a Harry in the book too), which have a continued presence into their adult life by representing the bearers of bad luck. You know the way some some people get the best jobs despite being incompetent, and the best girls despite being dickheads? Well that’s the essence of this novel.
Dick is as much the protagonist of this book as every Country & Western song; he’s lost his youth, his job, his health and his girl. And he spends dark days in a hospital bed suffering with TB and damning the Vodi for taking his life away.
For someone who doesn’t get on too well with older books, I found this quite enjoyable and interesting, and it dated extremely well for a book that’s 55 years old – my copy still has the price on the front of Three and Sixpence or something like that, I’m not sure.. .answers on a postcard please Three Shillings and Six Pence.
*though I’ve no idea who John Harrison is.