WHODUNNIT George R.R. Martin explores fantasy, occult, rebellion and relationships in this mystery novel. RYHAANA SALIE
Title: The Armageddon Rag
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 695
The plot of novel The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin revolves around the mysterious murder of music promoter Jamie Lynch on the tenth anniversary of the murder of one of the group members of the rock band Nazgul. It is set in a post modern context and explores the themes of the counterculture in post-Vietnam America, rebellion against social institutions and a search for an alternative way of life.
The protagonist Sandy Blair is a journalist who becomes involved in hunting down Lynche’s murderer. Blair begins his investigation by trying to ascertain the motive for the murder. At the beginning, Blair only has a hunch but it proves correct in the end as the cause for the murder is to eliminate Lynch who legally owns the Nazgul and will not permit the group to re-assemble as they are bound to his contract.
As the plot unravels, it becomes evident that the author is experimenting with the genre of fantasy as well as mystery which lends itself to a post modernist interpretation. The juxtaposition of dream with reality highlights this to the reader. For example, the recurring nightmares that Blair has which began in Chicago continue to haunt him throughout the novel. An unsettling and disturbing aspect of the novel is its exploration of the occult. The Nazgul is considered by some, including Blair’s mother, as a group that plays devil’s music. Their album titled Music to Wake the Dead features songs such as “What Rough Beast” which uses stanzas from W.B. Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” as its lyrics and “The Armegeddon Rag”.
The occult theme of possession from beyond the grave is examined by the author when Larry Richmond is possessed by the spirit of the dead Pat Hobbins during a Nazgul re-union concert.The Armageddon Rag paints a bleak picture of innocent lives gone astray as a result of a desperate attempt to carve out a unique identity of their own. The futility and meaninglessness of life and inter personal relationships of the generation of “baby boomers” in America is also explored in this novel.
Ryhaana is a II Year M.A. English Literature student at Stella Maris College.
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