Amidst warfare on any level, it's hard to know what to do. Yet for his part, author Michel Faber has (in a self-described gesture of "exasperation and rage"), sent a copy of his latest novel The Book of Strange New Things to David Cameron.
According to The Guardian, Faber took the action to "let off some impotent steam", after last week's parliamentary vote gave the go-ahead for air-strikes in Syria. Clearly, Faber notes, his decision to send the book “is not actually going to do anything”. But the author wanted to highlight such "ill-conceived adventures" with an act of satire.
We'd say he's certainly achieved it. In a letter sent with the book, Faber writes:
I am donating this copy of my latest novel to the war effort. With luck, we might even kill a child: their skulls are quite soft...
...a book cannot compete with a bomb in its ability to cause death and misery, but each of us must make whatever small contribution we can, and I figure that if you drop my novel from a plane, it might hit a Syrian on the head.
Faber is an author whose deep considerations about love, faith, ideals and impressed beliefs resonate strikingly through The Book of Strange New Things. The novel is about a Christian missionary named Peter who embarks upon an inter-galactic journey away from Earth, leaving behind his wife Bea.
This is not the first time Faber has made clear his despair at conflict. As well as his opposition to action in Syria, Faber wrote in favour of withdrawing troops from Iraq. He contributed the essay, Dreams in the Dumpster, Language Down the Drain, to the Not One More Death collection and thought about quitting writing after Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. He previously told The Bookseller:
I was very dispirited and demoralised about what writers could possibly do in a world like ours. It put me off writing fiction for a very long time. I got very fed up with authors writing inspirational articles about the transformative power of fiction when it was very clear that fiction writers have absolutely no influence on what happens in the world
Of the decision to send The Book of Strange New Things to Number 10 Downing Street, Faber has said:
I just felt so heartsick, despondent and exasperated that the human race, and particularly the benighted political arm of the human race, has learned nothing in 10,000 years, 100,000 years, however long we’ve been waging wars, and clearly the likes of Cameron are not interested in what individuals have to say.
Faber previously told The Bookseller that The Book of Strange New Things would be his last novel. We hope not, but more sincerely we hope he continues his writing.