Friday, August 7, 2009

Great review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' in The Times newspaper

Great review of BabyBarista and the Art of War in The Times newspaper yesterday. To read it either click here (second review down) or see the text below.


Baby Barista and the Art of War by Tim Kevan

This book’s genesis is in an anonymous blog started in 2007. The book emerges as a cross between The Talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The reader is pitched into Baby Barista’s manipulative, scheming and, often, downright evil battle to gain tenancy over his competing pupils. The plot burns up the pages and the characters that range within are all highly observed and coloured with Kevan’s acerbic wit.

Few people have names other than the nicknames bestowed by Baby Barista. This technique alone seduces smiles. They include Old Smoothie and The Vamp; there is a junior clerk “Fancies Himself”, while solicitors provide the characters of “Slippery Slope” and “Cliche Clanger”. There are some decent moral legal figures such as Old Ruin and The Busker. However, it is the selfish, lying, money-grubbing and duplicitous lawyer characters who dominate the narrative.

It would have been refreshing if Kevan had lingered longer over his decent lawyers to counterbalance his voracious characters. However, the emphasis on the grotesque does have the effect of ratcheting up the plot.

Ultimately, the book is a gallop of a read. It is a clever legal romp, a comedy mixed with ruminations about life, liberally peppered with black humour and layered in farce. It firmly proclaims, and disclaims, that it is fiction but there are many Bar absurdities from which Kevan has accurately drawn. As to whether any of the cast represent generic legal characters lurking in the profession, all I can say is that you may very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.

Baby Barista by Tim Kevan, Bloomsbury Publishing, £11.99
Review by Kirsty Brimelow

1 comment:

John Flood said...

I think Kevan has got it spot on! I have a friend who's doing research in this area and from what she tells me, it's accurate.