Book Review: Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer

Publisher: Ebury Publishing (Random House UK) | Publication Date: 4th August 2015 | Edition: Kindle  review copy (Via Netgalley)

My Review Fishbowl

Fish BowlFishbowl is an altogether refreshing read with a bounty of magic moments.

He’s forgetful. He’s fearless. He’s Ian, The Goldfish.

Yes, I know, a Goldfish would seem an unlikely attraction of any book, yet he resides happily with his owner on the 27th floor of an ageing apartment building by the name of The Seville on Roxy in this one. As you turn the pages you will see that they, and several other colourful and extraordinary characters, will cross paths in the most inexplicable ways.

The residents’ stories develop in time with the storeys Ian passes as he takes a fall from the balcony while the hard pavement waits patiently to greet him. We are given snapshots of their day building up to, during and after our little fishy friend develops a taste for flying.

Little by little we are invited further into their lives, which become curiouser and curiouser as the tale progresses; from a builder with a secret, to a pregnant lady in need of a helping hand, to an agoraphobic chat-line worker who hasn’t stepped outside her door in years, and an odd, orphaned lad, who for me was one of the best characters of them all (when he was conscious, that is!).

The heart of the apartment block is kept ticking by a desperately lonely janitor – he fixes the building so often he’s blended into the very fabric of it. Despite being surrounded by a hive of people, he rarely gets to actually ‘meet’ anyone. I so willed things to change for him. And THAT, folks, is the true beauty of this book. Events manifest themselves for our players in the most unexpected ways, while we get to peer in the windows through Ian’s eyes and watch their lives go round.

Fishbowl is an imaginative and witty observation into the bustling lives of neighbours who inhabit the same relative space, without ever really knowing each other. That is, until the most unforeseen circumstances occur, yet somehow people find a way to struggle on. Well, most of the time…

It’s clever. It’s special. And I liked it – A LOT.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review)

Fishbowl Author Profile

Bradley Somer has written a ton of short fiction, which has appeared in a plethora of literary journals, reviews and anthologies over the past thirteen 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 August 2015 through Ebury. Publication rights have sold in eighteen countries and the book will also be available in many translations.

Buy the Book from Amazon UK

Author Website |  Follow the author on Twitter

The Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Even a goldfish can dream of adventure…

From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian the Goldfish has frequent – if fleeting – desires for a more exciting life. Until one day, a series of unfortunate events gives him an opportunity to escape…

Our story begins, however, with the human inhabitants of Ian’s building. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.

And as Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he will witness all their lives, loves, triumphs and disasters…

A truly original, philosophically joyful and charming novel with the unlikeliest of heroes. This is Tales of the City as seen by a goldfish.



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