In contrast, the problem for Mr Osborne’s characters is their lack of fixed principle, and that existential void is what drives his narratives. His characters are people emblematic of our time, when the notions of duty and sacrifice are by and large in abeyance. They make bad decisions, live through terrible things and yet remain unchanged because on some level they lack the imagination and the discipline to change. For people like this, life becomes a little less comfortable in the wake of catastrophic events, but only in flashes. Like The Great Gatsby, Beautiful Animals concludes with a rowboat on the sea and an image of light in the distance. But Mr Osborne crafts a rebuttal of the green light that symbolises Gatsby’s dream: “They were like shooting stars, flaring up for a brilliant moment, lighting up the sky even for a few lingering seconds, then disappearing forever”.
 

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