Not a Brave New World
GILLIAN - Book One in the Not a Brave New World trilogy
Kip Fenn reflects on his family and the separation of his parents, as well as on his schooling, drawing attention to the influence of a history teacher, and friendships with Alfred Ajose, a Nigerian volleyball player, and Horace Merriweather, a future middle-rank politician. His first girlfriend goes into a coma after a terrible accident; and an uncomfortable New Year’s Eve with his father leads to questions about his paternity.
Subsequently, Kip spends time in Brussels working for an oil company, and then a European Member of Parliament. It is in the Parliament that he first sees Ojoru, a Nigerian politician who will become a world leader of importance. Kip travels to Brazil, where he has an affair, which has consequences later in his life.
After graduating from the London School of Economics, his civil service career begins in a government department dealing with internet regulation. However, a sexual weakness leads to him becoming manipulated by an unscrupulous media baron, and his working role becomes compromised.
Kip marries a cold-hearted woman, Gillian, with whom he has two children. Although she helps him through the career crisis, the relationship proves far from successful, and eventually breaks down.
DIANA - Book Two in the Not a Brave New World trilogy
World events do not impinge much on Kip’s narrative in Book One, but in Book Two his work takes him into the heart of international politics. The novel begins with a career shift for Kip, as he moves to the government’s climate change department, and then to The Hague to work for a new United Nations agency funding sustainable development. With climate change affecting the poorest countries most, and unrest escalating all over the world, Kip’s work in trying to persuade rich countries to share more of their wealth becomes increasingly important. One key trip takes him to Africa, and a meeting with Ojoru organised by Alfred. Kip, himself, continues to be promoted, and, partly thanks to Horace, survives a political attempt to oust him from the UN.
Meanwhile Kip’s personal life is being affected by world events: he nearly dies in a cyclone; his daughter gets caught up in a gaming/drugs/depression cycle which ends in her suicide; his son becomes a right-wing religious zealot; and, a world war, sparked by Muslim demands for more international equality, affects everyone’s lives.
Through all this, Kip tells the story of his love affair with a Dutch theatre designer, Diana. They decide to live together, and to have a child, Guido. Their joy is shown especially during a holiday to a puppet festival in Barcelona with friends, and during a weekend-long party to celebrate Diana’s 50th birthday - a bio-fest. Their lives, though, are interrupted by Arturo, from Brazil, who proves to be Kip’s son. While Kip enthusiastically involves himself in Diana’s world, she shows little interest in his. In time, he discovers she is still seeing an ex.
LIZETTE - Book Three in the Not a Brave New World trilogy
Kip Fenn struggles as director-general of the UN agency, not only with internal politics, but with his own ineffectiveness. The international community lurches towards a second Muslim-Christian conflict, but this time war is brought to a sudden end by the horrors of a climate catastrophe so dramatic that the world is plunged into near darkness for several years. In retirement, Kip is restless but finds a role for himself as head of an emergency aid agency. Long after the Grey Years have passed, Kip is invited to head an international project focused on 19th century photographs - one of his passions (there are references to old photographs throughout the autobiography).
Kip finally finds lasting happiness with Lizette, his third partner, who is pregnant when they meet. Together they bring up Jay. Kip has much to reflect on about Lizette’s friends/family members, one of whom has joined the Noteks, a widespread community of people living without technology. Kip also recalls a trip to Brazil where he meets Arturo’s family.
In Book Three of the trilogy, Kip finds himself writing far more about his current circumstances (i.e. in 2099), especially about Jay, his most regular visitor, and other family members. Indeed, towards the end of the book, a mysterious visitor leads him to regret having organised a deathday.