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March 27, 2015

Book Review—Breakfast with the Borgias by DBC Pierre

A novella from Hammer Horror (yes, the British film company that brought you those wonderful 60s and 70s horror films) and written by DBC Pierre. Ariel Panek is a mathematician on route to an A.I. conference in Amsterdam when his plane is landed due to dense fog. His accommodation is a rundown guesthouse on the Essex coast. Modern comforts like wifi and phone reception are not present, and as company Ariel has the guesthouse proprietors and a family that would make the Manson family look functional.

The tale adopts many clichés of the horror genre with wonderful enthusiasm. The foggy, decaying setting, the ghoulish proprietors, the creaky, empty hallways, the bizarre and evermore disquieting family. These characteristics are used lovingly and with brilliant humour. Pierre off sets these tropes with highly detailed tech speak and convincingly woven particulars of A.I. theoretics. Like Ariel, you are regularly reminded that it is the modern world while at the same time being isolated from it.
Both reminiscent and fresh, Breakfast with the Borgias will have your spine tingling while you are grinning from ear to ear.


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