Another holiday book, by a favourite author, and it’s as every bit as good as his previous novels, whilst remaining (like the others) completely different to anything he’s written before.
In the book, you spend just over a year with a 13 year old boy called Jason as he plots his way through the various minefields he encounters. Set in the early 1980s, pop culture references litter the novel and, as an 80s kid, whisked me back to that time of in my life. Jason is a kid who not only struggles to fit in, being smarter than average and he enjoys writing poetry whilst knowing that it’s a bit “gay” and could get him beaten up, but who also struggles with a stutter.
Jason narrates the story and it’s a credit to David Mitchell that you empathise so strongly with his lead character that you begin to sense how he is feeling before it is fully articulated. Admittedly it may be because I see some of myself in Jason, but that doesn’t detract from, as usual, the wonderfully engaging style that Mitchell brings to all his novels.
Dealing with various life changing events, including the impact of the Falklands War on a small rural community in England, I was so caught up with the book that I almost felt cheated when it was over.
If you haven’t read any of David Mitchell’s books before then this may be a good place to start as it’s, probably, the most accessible. However, they all share a similar trait in his wonderful depictions and vivid wordplay that brings his stories to life, dancing from the page.