Tom Banbury lives the life of a man that has been given everything. He is an advertising executive that leads a commercial giant, lives in a nice house and drinks the best booze. He also has a colleague Nikos Gazidis who is a very close friend, a person that has taken on much of the painful life of Tom and absorbed it. Nikos has also begun to act out the painful events and personalise them, remember them in all the painful relevance of a waking dream. Tom runs from them into the arms of a bottle but Nikos cant stop them from rising to the surface like a whale for air. They keep coming up to the top of his emotional state. They keep making him remember the stories of Tom. Tom cant do enough to forget them but Nikos cant seem to forget what is hurting Tom and the crash of emotional energy that is spent on this constant noise.
I didn’t really like Stardust Nation if i am being honest with you dear reader. It was not because the book is not very well constructed. It is not because of Levy’s work as her story is well defined, personal and in places, incredible powerful. It is not the art work that is often fresh and joyful with a dark sardonic edge. My problem comes from three places. Range, tempo and energy. Stardust Nation has range, in that it has great emotional thought. It also has soft hues of emotional voids that jar the reader into being pulled away from investing. I felt that the ambivalence the lead character Tom exerted in his manner toward life was the way I felt at the end of the book. I left the piece literally ambivalent and dulled. Its tempo is off. It has a great starting first and then the middle act seems to be off balance and you note that it builds and removes without a care or consideration in places.
The energy is where the piece is most tellingly lacking however. The feel is that the book might have spent the original story (Levy short) very early. This accounts for the tempo being off and the range as well. The energy just flees and by the final act you are given a buy out option and a very meagre one at that. The father / Son relationship suffers because of this and makes Toms aloofness even more of a study in hating a lead. The pain of Nikos is unbalanced with the lack of emotion concern from Tom and so it all builds in the first act and by the third is empty. I feel sadly that i have to be honest but it is not as good as it could have been.