The voice is compelling and totally real from the opening word to the final emotionally charged paragraph.
Abide With Me, short story writer Ian Ayris's debut novel, is an astoundingly simple yet brilliantly written first novel. Ayris writes in the first person narrative vernacular, one of the hardest narrative voices to master. And he has mastered it. The story revolves around two boys growing up in the East End during the seventies and eighties. It is full of memorabilia from that era, artfully recreated by Ayris with a touch of humour and a lot of heart, but not a tinge of sentiment. For although Abide With Me is a moving book it is never self-indulgent. Football is a key theme, since much of the novel centres on West Ham, a symbolic heartland of struggle and victory. Even to a reader who doesn't like sport these passages will resonate. Ayris captures this with great dexterity and psychological insight. He etches in family detail with subtlety. He keeps you turning the page.
Few writers can write idiomatic dialogue in a readable way and Ayris does with great skill.
I loved this novel. The voice is intimate, compelling, and you wait. You wait to hear what happens. Because you want to. Because the author makes you care.
John, the voice of the narrative, is a complex and humane man. If you enjoy accomplished storytelling and a book that speaks from the heart read this, it comes highly recommended.