Spurious is many things: an attempt to place philosophy into (almost) everyday conversation; an account of a classic existential double act (think Laurel and Hardy, Vladimir and Estragon, Withnail and I, or the psychogeographers of the "Robinson" films); a tale of menace and despair; and an opportunity to see how the narrative logic of the blog can be fitted (or not) to the more traditional framework of the book. Which of these (or other) aspects we wish to dwell on will lead to multiple different readings, different reasons to like or dislike the novel. Personally, I like to read Spurious as an assertion of the importance of friendship in the face of loss and despair. The loss in question seems to be connected to an inability to make connections, to make sense of the world. The world here is like that described by Beckett in ‘The Lost Ones’, an ‘Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain.’ There is no escaping the search, in Beckett’s formulation, but neither is there any hope for closure. Are Lars and W., the protagonists of this novel, each other's lost one? Is the promise of Spurious that friendship, in all its tender brutality, all its wretched neediness, is still the quality that we search for above all others? It seems telling that this novel, which some reviewers have found plotless, meandering, should finish with the lucid observation that "the plain is the friendship between us on which we are both lost".
Richard Elliott, Not the Booker review