Jim's Books


Mark Watson

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ISBN: 9781847379689


Xavier Ireland is a radio DJ who by night listens to the hopes, fears and regrets of sleepless Londoners and by day keeps himself very much to himself - until he is brought into the light by a one-of-a-kind cleaning lady and forced to confront his own biggest regret. This is a tale of love, loss, Scrabble and six degrees of separation, asking big questions about life and death, strangers and friends, heartache and comfort, and whether the choices we don't make affect us just as powerfully as those we do.

Reviewed on 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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