This week’s book was ‘The Threepenny Novel’ by Bertholt Brecht.
I have to admit that I didn’t even realise we’d got it in the house until I was browsing the shelves and I came across it. I knew it was based on his ‘The Threepenny Opera’, which in turn was based on John Gay’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ , and I knew it featured the character Macheath. And that was it.
So…what did I think?
Well, it was a heavy book (intellectually, not physically!!) and one that required you keep your wits about you. The plot is quite dense in places, with lots of double dealings involving Macheath – a murderous businessman, Peachum – an alternative entrepreneur who runs the beggars of London, Fewcomberry – a the MTB – a company involved in dodgy dealings involving unseaworthy troopships and a cut-throat battle between a chain of cheap goods shops run by Macheath and other traders in London.
It’s Dickens with bells on – a satirical assault on rampant free market capitalism and the easy patriotism of the ruling classes.
Excellent book – it features excerpts from the Opera as chapter dedications, and there are some wonderful soliloquies in the book – thought provoking and still surprisingly relevant today.