Don't get me wrong, I love it. It will become a cult classic, if it isn't already. It's the "White Album" of novels. Ezra's "bulbous salutation" and Harri's "manly central issue" that Tracey finds "too slight to grip" will be much quoted. And this: “Whoever put the pain in painting had also put the fun in funeral.” It's overloaded with such gems.
But it's not the quality of the (often tortuous) prose that concerns me here. I'm more concerned with matters of identity. Many co-incidences have already been pointed out (but I have failed to find mentioned the obvious FTM reference on page 109: "Edgar Allan Poe couldn't concoct this."). What I'm interested in here is to draw attention to something else.
The writing style of LOTL is baroque, brash and overbearing. It's a wordy tome that's slim in pages, but long in lengthy sentences (woe-betide David Morrissey or whomever else gets the job of reading it into a talking book, should it get that far). There's the wit of Autobiography, but in LOTL it's in overdrive. They share the dialogue in italics. They share the expected Morrissey-esque themes. But what gets me is that, although there's the occasional phrase lifted from a Morrissey lyric, it's very different from Morrissey's well-honed song verses. And if people thought Autobiography needed editing, then we can only assume that Michael Bracewell got the sack after that effort and M decided to fulfill that role himself.
Stylistically, it's quite different from what we've seen on the MW blob and on TTY. The messages are familiar, with the novel's oopart discussions of Churchill and of meat and the college-based conspiratorial abuse cover-up in the novel constantly reminded me of the Skull and Crossbones conspiracy theory played with on the MW blob, but the means are quite different.
Ever since reading the Brazil short story on MW (and re-published in the Blue Rose Society tumblr) I'd wondered if it showed the way to the novel. Thematically, it does; sex and death and the squalid abuse of power and money. Stylistically, though, they are quite distinct.
So, here's what I did. I popped some text samples into the Online Authorship Attribution Tool. I copied and pasted some prose from LOTL (seen in the analysis as Author 1), some TTY statements signed off as being composed by Morrissey (Author 2) and samples from Brazil (this went into Author Unknown field). What is being measured is how Brazil compares to the sample texts from LOTL (Author 1) and TTY (Author 2).
Here's the results:
It's hardly conclusive and this analysis tool may not mean that much. Maybe the prose of LOTL is so overblown that there is nothing in the Morrissey canon that is stylistically analogous, thereby creating a bias that gravitates Brazil closer to the TTY samples through their more familiar conventional prose styles. As the disclaimer says:
This tool is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. No guarantee is given as to the accuracy of the results, and the outcomes are not to be used for commercial or legal purposes.
However, the result is intriguing, as it suggests that when handed to an anonymous, unthinking software tool that wouldn't know the emotional difference between Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness and Mambo No.5*, it turns out that Brazil is more likely to have been written by Morrissey than his debut novel.
* I compared those two song lyrics with Kiss Me A Lot and the Online Authorship Attribution Tool erred on the side of PHTCAL being written by the same author as KMAL, but the result didn't make it into the green.