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Preview — A is for Angelica by Iain Broome
A is for Angelica
Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife while patiently observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: his neighbours.
He has files on them all, including:
-Don Donald (best f ...more
Gordon Kingdom is fifty-two. He’s left his dreary job to look after Georgina, his wife, who is bed-ridden and incapacitated after a stroke. Gordon hasn’t told the doctor about his wife, making the choice to ignore reality even as it’s hitting him in the face with a spade, because he and Georgina have a pre-prepared plan, a system for her care, he knows he can look after her bet ...more
Gordon Kingdom watches the happenings on Cressington Vale, a street in a northern town, where he lives with his wife Georgina and dog Kipling. He keeps files of notes and his observations about the lives of those on the opposite side of the street. His wife has suffered two strokes, the first of which happened eighteen months ago, and he patiently cares for her at home, trying to cope, to continue some sort of ...more
One day Angelica moves in across the road from him and he opens a file "A is for Angelica" because he keeps written files on what his neighbours across the road get up to. It is some sort of therapy for him to help with his coming to terms with the state his wife is in - she's ha ...more
The protagonist, Gordon, is well-developed, yet Broome does not employ the use of special techniques, or long descriptions to do so. Instead, what drives most of the characterisation is sim ...more
He comes across at times as a mixture of Adrian Mole and the boy from The Curious Case of The Dog In The Night-time, but for all his quirks he is not a bad person.
The fact that he keeps his bed-ridden wife upstairs and tells nobody she has had a second stroke could be seen as sinister bu ...more
But it was different and more about his half-paralysed wife and his relationship with his new neighbour Angelica which was still good but I was just expecting it to be about more characters on the street than just them.
Of course there is Benny and Don and others who we hear about too.
I can't tell ...more
Gordon is a difficult man to like at first. He seems emotionally removed from his ill wife, who is totally dependent o ...more
The novel is not filled with plot twists, but instead focuses beautifully on a simple tale of love, guilt and helplessness, letting the everyday characters move the story on. The characters are brought brilliantly to life by Iain’s meticulous writing.
The story flows effortlessly and I quickly devoured it, reading it from cover to cover.
It i ...more
Criticism of the harsher aspects of our 'welfare' state is so deftly delivered, you don't notice it un ...more
This is a really difficult novel for me to rate, or write about, in several ways. To start with, the basic premise (without spoilers) is that our narrator, Gordon Kingdom, is a man who keeps files on all his neighbors, as he watches them through the window in his spare bedroom. His wife Georgiana has recently had a stroke, and Gordon has taken the doctor's suggestion to "write thi ...more
it is a rather unusual experience - writing a review, or rather an extended wording of opinion, on a book written by someone you know. well, i hope it’s not a big stretch to say that i know mr iain broome. i read his blog, i listen to his podcast and i’ve met him on his signing event, and most importantly he follows me back (!) on twitter. on the modern internet scale it’s safe to say that we’re acquainted.
“a is for angelica” is iain broome’s debut novel. he went the old fashioned way and publis...more
And d'you know why that was?
Because it's very good, that's why!
Honestly though, I'v ...more
Aaaaaand, I was relie ...more
The real story, of the stroke-ridden wife and her tired, loving and obsessive husband is sad, touching and slow. Their love story is gradually told and is achingly lovely, Gordon's constant spying and noting of his neighbours' every move creepy but almost understandable.
A very interesting novel, different but moving.
A copy of this book was supplied by the publisher in return for an honest review
B is for Brilliant
C is for Clever
D is for a Deft hand with a pen
I could go on until Z but this author has already done a better job.
What is perhaps most incredible about this book is the themes it explores and that they are written by someone so young. More please Mr Broome.
A graduate of Sheffield Hallam’s MA Writing programme, he has edited literary magazines, co-run a successful monthly spoken word event and currently maintains a popular website and podcast about writing, reading and publishing.
Iain lives in Sheffield with his wife and identical twin boys.