Patrick Down on Tue 09 May 2000 Somewhat inevitably, really, this novel started out life on the internet. It tells the story of two hundred and fifty three passengers on a tube train in London as it heads towards the Elephant and Castle. Each passenger is described in 253 words - we get their appearance, some background information, and what they are thinking about at that moment in time.

For a while, this is fascinating stuff, at least if you're the sort of person who sits in public places wondering who everyone else is and what they are thinking about.

Trouble is, that by the time I got to passenger no 70. or so it all began to get a loittle frustrating. There's no underlying plot, and the characters, described in 253 words, lack any real depth. I eventually found myself skipping through the book looking for the most interesting characters and leaving the rest (possibly the author's intention) There's enough quirky humour to keep you going for a while though, and if you're looking for light reading (perhaps on a tube train) then you could do a lot worse. In the end it reads like little more than a collection of warm up exercises for a creative writing class. Probably works better on the internet, where hypertext would allow you to jump straight between characters whose stories interleave.

Rating: 5.0

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