To say I am overjoyed to be kicking off Liam Brown’s #WildLife blog tour today would be an understatement, as I have book love galore for Wild Life! This incredible treasure was published yesterday and now it’s my great pleasure to be able to release my humble review into the wild…
Publisher: Legend Press | Publication Date: 13th June 2016
How to go from civilised to feral in just a couple of hundred pages…
Yep. It’s a Wild Life indeed for Adam. Once upon a time he lived in the dog-eat-dog world of high flying sales executives, until his career and its relentless entertainment schedule finally turned its back on him. When his gambling debts spiralled out of control and his recreational drug use became habitual, he stepped out of his front door with just the clothes on his back to contemplate how his life went so badly wrong.
During his impromptu walkabout, Adam stumbles upon a hidden world just a stone’s throw away from society. While society minds its own business, this primitive place embraces him, warts and all.
Except this exclusive place doesn’t feature ‘Eve’. Nope, Adam’s wife, Lydia, is back at home with his children and is none the wiser as to his whereabouts. Would they think less of him when they learn what a major disappointment he was professionally and personally, or that he’s now residing in an undiscovered and somewhat unconventional haven for a chorus of weather-beaten folks with histories not dissimilar to his own?
Most of them prefer their pack as an alternative to the lives they each left behind, dishevelled men like Hopper, Fingers and Al Pachino (no, not THE Al Pachino) … and the elusive Sneed who skulks about the park like a phantom, while you get a whiff of Rusty’s catering skills featuring curried everything with each turn of the page. Under the ‘guidance’ of Marshall, a kind of militant Butlin’s Redcoat and resident sage, these men live by their own moral code and means of survival. They follow a few basic rules: everyone contributes, and once you decide to stay it would be considered rude to leave.
This existence is a stark contrast to Adam’s old one and presents him with an entirely new set of challenges. While conventional law is not recognised, extreme daily activities create the backbone on which the pack survives (including some disturbing early morning yoga). But any freedom gained from abandoning your past self can so easily morph into isolation and fear in the blink of an eye.
It takes an enormous talent to place the peculiarities of fictional characters on trial and make you believe in each every one of them, for better or for much, MUCH worse. Not only that, it’s brimming with shrewd observations of the sinister side of herd mentality and how the group applies deluded reasoning for it. Made me wonder if we’ve ever truly evolved.
I lost all sense of time alongside Adam while reading Wild Life, and that’s no exaggeration. His story is aptly told in ‘seasons’ and I was gutted to reach the final one marking the end of his journey. With it’s wicked brilliance, sharp pace and darkly satirical delivery I can safely say it’s one of those books I could happily read again tomorrow, as it sits superbly in a class of its own.
Rating: A mesmerising 5/5 (and a promise never to take Quality Street for granted again)
(Huge thanks, as always, to the Legend Press folks for providing another great book for me to devour as part of the Legend 100 Club.)
New novel from the Guardian Not the Booker shortlisted author of ‘Real Monsters’.
‘…as intoxicating as home-distilled hooch.’ — Stephen May, Costa Novel Award-shortlisted author
‘…inventive, finely written and disturbing.’– Jim Crace, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author
‘When we moved into the wild, the wild moved into us.’
When a troubled advertising salesman loses his job, the fragile wall between his public and private personas comes tumbling down. Fleeing his debtors, Adam abandons his family and takes to sleeping rough in a local park, where a fraternity of homeless men befriend him.
As the months pass, Adam gradually learns to appreciate the tough new regime, until winter arrives early, threatening to turn his paradise into a nightmare.
Starving, exhausted and sick of the constant infighting, Adam decides to return to his family. The men, however, have other plans for him. With time running out, and the stakes raised unbearably high, Adam is forced to question whether any of us can truly escape the wildness within.
Liam Brown is a writer, filmmaker and former-life model. His debut novel Real Monsters was published in 2015 and long-listed for the Guardian s Not the Booker prize. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.
Join Butterflyy In The Skyy tomorrow for more #WildLife…
Thanks so much for stopping by,