On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
This book is unlike anything I've read before and probably will ever read in the future, and it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's most certainly mine. Phil Moss's nameless character (who, later, hits upon the name Inkker Hauser, reasons explained in the story) is a writer. He knows that he possesses the raw talent and originality to light a fire under the literary world, if only he could just write the book that's inside him ... somewhere. He doesn't want the pathetic glory of Amazon ebook bestseller tags and five star reviews from sycophantic fellow writers and chums, he wants the highest literary accolades in the world for the masterpiece yet to be born, after which he will write no more, depriving his fans of the words he knows they will crave.
The young man's story is funny, sad, tragic, and I've read some parts more than once because they're so good. Not only is he delusional, he also has a drink problem, an obssession with dead birds, nautical disasters and model submarines, a deep and abiding love for his fish, Kursk (named after his favourite nautical disaster). He's lonely, and longs for a woman to love, but his behaviour repels those who are attracted to him (I get the impression he's rather handsome). In the second part there is the best story of a disastrous date ruined through too much alcohol that I've ever read. He despises self-promoting, self-published writers, and is driven to a state of insanity when one, the irritatingly smug Adrian, moves in upstairs. When Adrian and his wife Claire (who calls our hero 'Inky') invite him to a cocktail party, he sees an opportunity to show himself in his best possible literary light. Of course, he drinks too much, it all goes horribly wrong, and ... sorry, no clues!
The characterisation all through the book is outstanding (I particularly liked the characters in the pub in the first two parts), and the young man's slow descent into alcohol fuelled eccentricity bordering on insanity is brilliantly executed. Sometimes, though, his thoughts are not so offbeat; sometimes you'll find yourself smiling in agreement. Despite, or maybe because of, his unusual characteristics, he's so likeable. I want things to work out for him. I also think that novel is in his head, somewhere ...
In much of the book there is only the one character, with his thoughts, curious impulses and domestic rituals, and it never moves further than his local pub, The Laughing Goat, his local shops and the flat upstairs, but there is not one boring sentence.
There are some punctuation and grammatical errors, and in places it could do with a bit of 'tidying up'; I've knocked off half a star for this only in the interests of valid and honest reviewing, but it scarcely detracted from my enjoyment. 20/1: Please note: the author tells me that the errors have now been fixed and a new version uploaded.
Meanwhile, I won't tell you about the seven television sets, the gas mask, the mannequin and the black marker pens. You'll just have to read it for yourself.