Smiles and the Millennium
Published by Virago, 1987
In this dystopian novel I tried to predict what Thatcher’s policies would have on London. Simon, a young architect whose life collapsed when his wife committed suicide, works as a volunteer in a shanty town in Wandsworth called Smiles, where the poor live in an ocean of mud and sewage on UN rations and cholera is endemic. He meets and falls in love with Christy, a social worker. Simon’s parents have made a lot of money out of theme parks where unemployed youngsters are entertained on a diet of pap and patriotism and kept docile by drugged Neuropepsi. When the book was first published it was criticised for being too pessimistic but actually, over twenty years later, the contrast between the rich elite living in mansions and the desperate homeless is quite relevant.
German edition published by Wilhelm Heyne as Smiles und das Neuee Jahrtausend.
A sharply written indictment of late twentieth century, free market capitalism.
Her vision is frighteningly plausible