Book Review

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Author: Henry Sutton

Publisher: Serpents Tail

In South London, all the members of an extended family have one thing in common: a sick obsession with looks—their own and those of others as they go about their daily lives in a sweltering summer that seems a little too close to home. Every character Sutton summons is somewhat dysfunctional. For instance, when Zara, a woman in her early twenties, gets a job as a tour guide at a resort on the Med, her only thoughts are about comparing the size of her Spanish boyfriend’s cock to that of his best friend’s when they go swimming nude. She also worries about her Viagra-popping father who’ll be celebrating his 70th birthday at her workplace with guests including: her married sister Sally (who finds satisfaction with a garden hose while her husband spends his lunch hours at a strip club), her half-sisters and her father’s mistress. But perhaps Zara is one-upped by her former brother-in-law, Brian—an overweight, sex-starved man—who only thinks about what other people are wearing under their everyday clothes. 

Thong Nation is not, as the sleazy cover might suggest, a porn novel. It is a sad tale of two generations of Brits who are overexposed to sex without getting much action themselves. With the days by the pool or the beach numbered, it’s the perfect book for a late summer read. A way to trade in the tawdry tales spun in America’s vapid pop culture for the same thing across the Atlantic. 

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