Monday, 10 August 2015

Fishbowl - Bradley Somer

About the book...
Told through the eyes of a goldfish named Ian, who is currently falling from the twenty-seventh floor balcony of an apartment building, this novel follows an eclectic cast of characters on one single day.A quirkily charming, highly original and philosophically joyful novel with the unlikeliest of heroes. This is Tales of the City as seen by a goldfish.


There is the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the building’s superintendent who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time. In this one building are stories of love, new life and death; and of learning that sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward…

About the author...
Bradley Somer has written a ton of short fiction, which has appeared in a plethora of literary journals, reviews and anthologies over the past eleven years. His stories show a bent for the off-kilter with a touch of the urban fantastic.

Bradley’s debut novel, IMPERFECTIONS, was published in Fall 2012 by Nightwood Editions. It earned a starred review from Quill & Quire magazine, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut author of the year and was one of the Canadian Bookseller’s Top 8 Picks for 2012.

His next novel, FISHBOWL, will be published in North America in August 2015 through St. Martin’s Press. Publication rights have sold in over fifteen countries and the book will be available in many translations.


Bradley Somer is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency

My thoughts...
One very ordinary day I opened an email from Elaine Egan, a press officer at Ebury Publishing asking me if I'd like to read a debut novel by Bradley Somer about a goldfish called Ian who falls 27 floors from a tower block.  Needless to say I did a double take, re - read the blurb and thought WHAT!  Why not - it sounded intriguing, different and totally unlike any of the books I'd read over the last couple of years.

What a book, I don't quite know where to begin to explain how I feel about this book.  Have you ever wanted to look behind closed doors in a hotel or an apartment block, to get inside the minds of an eclectic mix of people and see what makes them tick?  I know I have, that in-built nosiness was satisfied big time.

Each chapter introduces the reader to a character/resident from the apartment block, The Seville on Roxy, with the protagonist played by a goldfish. Ian, is a goldfish, owned by Connor.  He was a gift from, new girlfriend Katie after telling her the tale of his utter devastation when, as a child he lost his pet dog, also called Ian. He takes a tumble over the balcony on the 27th floor and has split second glimpses inside the apartments of the many residents - clearly demonstrating we really don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

I smiled, laughed, cringed and sat open mouthed at the antics and characters Bradley served up to us.  Each one living side by side yet not even knowing each other or anything about each others lives - quite sad and pitiful but so very true of many apartment blocks I'd say.

This is a truly fun, original book that will get you thinking and wondering about the people we come across in our everyday lives.  Viewed through the eyes of a goldfish with a one second memory was just perfect.  No time to think or judge, just accepting everything and everyone for what they seem.  Ian was loving his adventure forgetting each snapshot of life as fast as experiencing the next - with no sense of fear just living for the moment.

We could all learn a lot from a goldfish!  I urge you to read this book, it's original and certainly very different but highlights so many things.  A goldfishes perspective on life clearly demonstrates how to live for the moment, accepting people for who they seem, yet not accepting everything at face value.  Even people who at first appear to be opposites in character can live alongside each other, to form a community that can and do, help and support each other in their own way.  

With such an unusual premise and eye-catching cover I was so glad I loved this book.  I was highly, entertained throughout this book and make no hesitation in recommending Fishbowl. It's a breath of fresh air to read something so unique, 320 simply whizzed by and everyone knows I love a book that makes me think and isn't predictable.  Huge thanks to Elaine for letting Bradley, through Ian get inside my mind, whirring my cogs.

You can follow Bradley and Ian on twitter - please do :)