Thursday, 6 August 2015

Book Review - Fishbowl by Bradley Somer - Paperback Summer

Amazon UK
Title: Fishbowl
Author: Bradley Somer
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Goodreads / Firstreads
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 6th August 2015 
Rating: 5 Stars

Even a goldfish can dream of adventure…

From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian the Goldfish has frequent – if fleeting – desires for a more exciting life. Until one day, a series of unfortunate events gives him an opportunity to escape…

Our story begins, however, with the human inhabitants of Ian’s building. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.

And as Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he will witness all their lives, loves, triumphs and disasters…

A truly original, philosophically joyful and charming novel with the unlikeliest of heroes. This is Tales of the City as seen by a goldfish.

This is a very hard book to try and  describe, I don't think goldfish plummeting 27 floors of an apartment building and what he sees is a genre, but yet that is what the books is about. The entire book takes place over a 30 minute period of time, leading up to when Ian, the Goldfish jumps out of his bowl and starts his descent. 

Through relatively short chapters, we learn about the lives of a whole host of residents of the Seville on Roxy, and after each cycle of chapters about human residents, we check in with what Ian the Goldfish is currently doing and thinking. 

What is amazing, but equally realistic, is how you can live in a building with so many other people, but yet your lives never really overlap. However in this 30 minute segment, there are overlaps all over the place, as a series of coincidences and consequences collide into a fascinating insight into life in an apartment building. 

There is Katie, who is in love with the evil Connor, but Connor is trying to hide the evidence of him cheating on Katie with other women. There is Garth, who is hiding a secret, Petunia who is about to go into labour, Claire who is agoraphobic, Hector who is home schooled and seems to have a few interesting character traits, and there is also Jiminez the apartment blocks superintendent. 

Some of the interactions you would not have expected in a million years, but it just goes to show you never really know what happens behind closed doors. 

I found Fishbowl to be an interesting and very clever concept, that is unlike other books I have read in the past. As the chapters are short, and the book jumps viewpoints regularly you would possibly expect to get confused with the story, but I found it very simple to follow and nicely paced too. 

I am still amazed by how much action can be fitted into a half hour snapshot of life in an apartment block. Fishbowl had be gripped right from the start, and I think it is a brilliant book. 

Thanks so much to Goodreads and Firstreads for my copy of this book. This was my honest review. 

Fishbowl is published today. Happy Publication day to Bradley Somer!

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