Mark Watson - Shastrix Books

Mark Watson

Recently reviewed

Hotel Alpha

Hotel Alpha

23rd June 2019

I devoured a couple of Mark Watson’s novels before, and this one was no different. It’s the story of a hotel, but primarily of two of the regular fixtures - one the concierge who joins as a young man, and lives his life through the hotel, and the other the blind son of the hotel owner, whose education is provided by visitors to the hotel.

It’s a really interesting long-term tale of two closely related lives, with twists and side-plots and a complex inter-weaving of real-world events that help to ground the tale in reality, sometimes in a quite shocking way.

Overall very enjoyable, if a bit sad - and certainly a novel that makes the reader think quite deeply about what’s going on. Seeing the world from only two points of view means that there’s a certain amount that’s hinted at which we don’t see - and a revelation in the author’s afterword which I won’t spoil makes this even more interesting.

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The Knot

The Knot

13th November 2017

A relatively light tale about a wedding photographer, telling the story of his life, loves and family. I say relatively light as I’d just escaped from a novel set in hell and as such this was vastly happier reading and I devoured it in the course of a single Saturday.

I read the author’s novel ‘Eleven’ some years ago, and have seen his stand-up performances a couple of times, and picked this up thinking it would be a barrel of laughs. It’s not, although it does have humorous moments - in fact it’s quite a deep and emotional tale about relationships between family members.

I imagine that it will divide readers, but personally I enjoyed reading it and it certainly made me think and go on a short emotional trip of my own.

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Eleven

Eleven

28th November 2010

Although I've seen Mark Watson on TV many and on stage several times this is the first of his novels that I've read. It's a comic-tragedy or a tragic-comedy, written mostly in the present tense.

The story follows the life of Xavier Ireland, a late night radio DJ, as he tries to avoid helping people, find a girlfriend, and save his friend Murray's feelings. Ultimately though, it's a book about unintended consequences and the principle of six-degrees of separation. The story continues the narratives of the people Xavier meets and we find out how his actions affect their lives in ways he will never know.

Once I got used to the present tense of the narrative it was a nice easy read, although I couldn't hear it in the author's voice. There are parts of the story which are quite sad, which I wasn't really prepared for, but I hope my note above that this is also a tragedy has forewarned you.

I enjoyed reading this, it was an interesting concept presented in a very original style, and I think it will lead me to read more of Watson's novels in the future.

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Buy book: UK

Top books

  1. Hotel Alpha
  2. Eleven
  3. The Knot