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Thirteen by Sebastian Beaumont

Thirteen (2006)

by Sebastian Beaumont

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An excellent read. Stephen promises an old school friend to try being a taxi driver for 12 months and we meet him working the night shift in Brighton. It seems that tiredness is affecting how he perceives reality and the difference between what is real and what is imagined becomes very blurred. Characters move in and out of his life, some of them clearly real, others having a confused status. Stephen tries to keep a grip on what is happening, but not surprisingly starts to lose his sense of perspective.
The characters he meets include Valerie, a woman who seems to be terminally ill, Helena and her brother Semour and the unbelievably beautiful Pheonix.
An intriguing and interesting read that has themes about memory and repression of memories and how we know who we are. ( )
  Tifi | Jul 8, 2012 |
Stephen Bardot is depressed after the failure of his business, and agrees to become a night-time taxi driver for a year. He finds that becoming nocturnal leads to a strange state of mind due to complete exhaustion where nothing is quite what it seems.

When he discovers that a house, 13 Wish Road, where he's had a regular pick-up doesn't exist, he begins to become obsessed and tries to get back into the zone where it was real. The Nurse tells him, 'Thirteen is not a number, it's a state of mind'. This leads to many strange experiences including meeting the girls of his dreams, but then he starts to ask questions about Thirteen, and just when as he's starting to come out of his depression, the events in the zone get very bad indeed ...

Based on real experience of driving taxis and drawing from the author's work as a psychotherapist, this is a many layered novel. Unlike many other novels which include experiences in altered states, this one is so skilfully written, you really believe in the dreamworld - it starts off so ordinarily as if it were part of normal life, that by the time you find out about it, you've been engaged with it for some time; when things get weirder you're then drawn with it.

Finally, you are left to make up your mind over what ultimately happens to Stephen, but the lack of a definite ending doesn't jar, just keeps you thinking about what a good book it was. ( )
  gaskella | Jun 27, 2008 |
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Stephen Bardot, a taxi driver working the exhausting night shift in Brighton, begins to experience alterations to his perception of reality... He regularly takes Valerie from 13 Wish Road to the Cornerstone Community Centre. She is terminally ill, so when he is no longer asked to collect her, he fears that she is dead. Making enquiries about her he discovers that her address does not exist - there is no number thirteen at Wish Road. Life gets weirder and he must walk away from the twilight world of Thirteen. But Thirteen has no intention of letting him go.… (more)

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