The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder, by John Ironmonger

Publisher: W & N | Publication date: 3rd January 2013 | Edition: Paperback (own copy)

Maximilian Ponder is lying face up, dead, on the dining table in his own front room…

The Notable Brain of Maximillian Ponder.jpg

A thoroughly quirky and original read.

A thoroughly unusual tale about a man who chose to lock himself away in an attempt to record the existing contents of his brain for future scientific analysis.

It’s an especially clever and heart-warming book. I really can’t explain to you HOW the writer made this story work, it just does – and I loved it!

To briefly give you an idea of the story, during a project that was supposed to last just three years, the young Maximillian Ponder has decided to isolate himself from the outside world to recall and write down every memory he’s had, every person he’s met, food he’s eaten, places he’s visited, conversations he recalls – well, you get the idea!

Don’t be fooled that this is some boring, straightforward run-of-the-mill diary – Maximillian Ponder’s random ‘ponderings’ are anything but boring.

It’s an outpour of everything the man has ever experienced, or to be precise, what he remembers. Travelling through the pages of the book with Max and his good friend, Adam Last, you sense his past, present and future. The timeline flits back and forth to allow the story to be told by both Max, via his journal, and Adam, who’s telling the story. Yet there’s an odd order to it all. The writer really knows how to draw you into this ‘pondering’ world he’s created.

I’m not going to say anymore about the plot, as the whole experience will be YOU reading Max’s ramblings. It’s funny, even though it’s heart breaking in places, and it’s thought provoking without losing its ‘entertainment value’. Some upsetting moments are tackled by John Ironmonger’s brilliantly quirky writing style. For this reason alone he’s quickly becoming a favourite author of mine (see The Coincidence Authority, also fabulous)

Well then, if you like something different without it being totally bizarre then try this. I’m very glad I did.

Rating: 5/5

You can follow the author on Twitter: @jwironmonger


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