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A is for Angelica by Iain Broome
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A is for Angelica

by Iain Broome

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143647,891 (3.83)1
2013 (1) ebook (1) fiction (2) Kindle (1) Need to Read (1) read (1)

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"There’s a lot of dark satire encouched in this terse and straight to the point prose that makes an otherwise claustrophobic novel into something entertaining."
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2014/08/a-for-angelica-iain-broome.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Aug 26, 2014 |
On the one hand, Gordon’s life is embedded in the factual monotony of the everyday. He watches his street, obsessively taking copious notes on what his neighbours are doing, when they do it and with whom. On the other hand his life is embedded in pretence. His wife is lying in bed, suffering the effects of a severe stroke, but he has told everyone that she is visiting relatives.

Gordon is a difficult man to like at first. He seems emotionally removed from his ill wife, who is totally dependent on him; his surveillance of the street has taken Neighbourhood Watch to a creepy level; and his obsessive note taking is fairly disturbing. But keep on reading and you will soon find yourself warming to Gordon.

A wonderfully fast read, this book was intriguing. At times depressing, at times amusing, but always entertaining. ( )
  judylou | Dec 20, 2013 |
Gordon Kingdom lives in Cressington Vale, a perfectly suburban, uncontroversial and terribly middle class street whose various characters waltz through their daily routines and, in the main, lead highly predictable lives. Apart, perhaps, from Benny the boy across the road, who between the hours of 1 and 2am every morning settles down in his bedroom to paint with his eyes closed. We know this because, whilst caring for his seriously ill wife Georgina, Gordon spends his days peeping around his curtains and making detailed notes on his neighbours’ habits. Using his meticulously organised files on people to bring order to a life thrown into complete chaos by his wife’s second stroke, Gordon is a narrator of many colours; sometimes pitiable, often unwittingly amusing as he details the life and times of their aging dog Kipling, lonely bachelor Don Donald and who could forget A, for Angelica. An attractive, foul-mouthed and multi-coloured new friend who inadvertently pushes Gordon’s secretive life in an entirely new direction.

It is a wonderful thing to invest yourself in a novel without any preconceptions, which, despite our best efforts, inevitably colour our opinions. I found the domesticity and sheer ‘Britishness’ of Broome’s surprisingly dark story to be incredibly comforting (a little like Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand) and I found myself feeling highly protective of Gordon and his little world, where it could be all too easy to criticise his actions. Broome’s suburbia is awash with charming, unique characters and I found his subtlety and balance between the comedic and tragic aspects of the book to be quite astonishing considering the fact that this is, after all, his debut novel. Although I try and avoid making too many grandiose statements…could we perhaps have another Mark Haddon on our hands?

http://relishreads.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/a-is-for-angelica/ ( )
  Lucy_Rock | May 18, 2013 |
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Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife while observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: his neighbours. He has files on them all, including Don Donald (best friend and petty thief), Annie Carnaffan (lives next door, throws footballs over the fence), and Benny (the boy who paints with his eyes closed). And then there's Angelica, the new girl on the street, with her multi-coloured toenails and her filthy temper. It's when she arrives that Gordon's world of half-truths begins to unravel. Faced with a series of unexpected events and a faltering conscience, he's left with an impossible decision...… (more)

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