By the Booker-shortlisted author of Astonishing Splashes of Colour; a wittily observed slice of modern life as it plumbs the gulf between nostalgia and reality. Who is the Roundabout Man? He doesn't look like a tramp, yet he lives on a roundabout in a caravan and survives on the leftovers from a motorway service station. He calls himself Quinn, the name of a boy in a world-famous series of children's books. When Quinn's reclusive existence is invaded, he has to face his past, and the uncomfortable truth of who he really is.
©2011 Clare Morrall (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
I enjoyed the audio version of this book, excellently read by Gordon Griffin. It was light enough to entertain me whilst driving, while having some deeper messages to make it worthwhile.
The Roundabout Man of the title, is none other than Quinn Smith, depicted in his mother's popular series of childrens' books, as a scruffy-haired little boy with falling-down socks. When we meet him he is nearing 60 and desperate to separate himself from this huge persona.
He now lives where no-one will ever look for him - in a caravan, in the centre of a roundabout.
Unfortunately one person does track him down, a nosey young magazine reporter, whose article sends his life spiralling in totally unforeseen directions.
The motorway service station, just off the roundabout, is his source of food, warmth and contact with people. But what starts out as an impersonal, transitory, brick building, turns out to house an interesting secondary family.
'The Triplets and Quinn' series also features Quinn's triplet sisters, who appeared to be close as children but seem to have fractured apart as adults.
Larissa Smith, their mother and the author of the famous series, writes knowledgeably about childhood adventures, yet seems totally unable to care for and love her own children.
Clare Morrall writes beautifully about isolation and the longing for a mother, but the reason given for why Larissa was so distant was the weak link for me. Otherwise, this was an excellent read from an interesting author.
Also read by Clare Morrall:
The Language of Others (5 stars)
Quinn is the main character in this story who is trying to get away from the Quinn in the children's novels his mum wrote about him and his triplet sisters. his sisters have made their own lives but Quinn can't break free.
alongside the main story there are excerpts from the triplets and Quinn books which adds so much more than a straightforward telling of the story would.
I enjoyed the book and would recommend it if you want something unusual to listen to.
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