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Days of Throbbing Gristle

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Does Heaven know you're miserable now?

It’s 1987. Sam Henry Hay, a 17-year-old exchange student from Sheffield, hops into Texas, USA, with one burning ambition: Manipulate his gullible host parents into funding his university, and leave his dead-end life in Yorkshire behind.

But is Sam manipulating America or America manipulating Sam? The clever lad schmoozes his way into ma
ebook, 805 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by BookBaby (first published April 16th 2014)
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Kevin Cole Hi Isis! Your questions always make my day :-)

I got the idea for Sam Hay reading the novel "Creation" by Gore Vidal. Growing up, all I'd heard about t…more
Hi Isis! Your questions always make my day :-)

I got the idea for Sam Hay reading the novel "Creation" by Gore Vidal. Growing up, all I'd heard about the Ancient Greeks was how intelligent and advanced they were. But in "Creation," the Persian narrator wastes no opportunity pointing our how stupid and backwards they are compared to Persians. I found that switch a wonderful shock. Could I do the same with Americans, I wondered. There's the stereotype of the arrogant Brit looking down his nose at Yanks. Once I assumed that guise, the floodgates burst open. Sam's criticism is sharp, but it's also entertaining, and anyone who reads the book knows he's far from perfect himself.

Sam was relatively easy to invent. The other characters were harder, with Jill being the hardest. She's a Jehovah's Witness. It's easy to make fun of such people. Harder to make one sympathetic. I got loads of headaches making her not only believable but likable. I can't tell you how relieved I am to be told she's the only nice character in the book :-D (less)
Kevin Cole It already is published, in the e-book sense. Maybe one day a hard copy will be made. "But that day is not today" ;-)…moreIt already is published, in the e-book sense. Maybe one day a hard copy will be made. "But that day is not today" ;-)(less)

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Harry Whitewolf
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I’m buggered if I know why Kevin Cole’s writing drew me in as much as it did, but that only goes to show what a skilled writer he is. Best to avoid thoughts of technique and just go along for the utterly absorbing ride instead then.

You can’t help but use the term ‘coming of age tale’ for Days of Throbbing Gristle (what a great title!), ‘cos that’s what it is – but it’s also a hell of a lot more.

It’s 1987. Sam Hay, a 17 year old Brit from Sheffield, goes to Texas to study and live with a host fa
Lily Vagabond
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The French call an orgasm le petit mort. The little death. But Sam isn't French and Days of Throbbing Gristle isn't little.

This is not your typical teenage angst story about the woes of fitting in. As Sam, a seventeen year old one man show of Dangerous Liaisons, would say, absolutely not. This is an epic novel about how an English magnificent bastard tries to manipulate America by not fitting in. Then America manipulates him.

Days of Throbbing Gristle (an old school industrial band back when indu
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book is epic, it feels like I have read a whole lifetime. I have deliberately taken my time reading this and it really helps you to get a grip on time passing and how Sam changes from the little dick he was in the beginning to a less annoying dick at the end of the book. I think reading this too fast will ruin the effect, you really need to savour it like I am with this bottle of red wine I found.

At the beginning I thought this was going to be a bit like catcher in the rye (do we have a new
C.M. Gordon
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Days of Throbbing Gristle is a time machine trip back to the late nineteen eighties, an era best forgotten, when grown men dressed like preppy jackasses and hair bands held court on MTV. It was one of the low points in American culture, and in the suburbs south of Houston (Clear Lake by another name), it was even worse than that.

Into this void walks young Sammy Hay, a seventeen year old foreign exchange student from England, a man with a plan. He's hopped the pond as a coming high school senior
pink (not just another shade of red)
What I liked:
Reads like a crazy,long joyride straight to America,80's,with a bunch of very interesting people and punk rock 'n roll blasting on the stereo. Sam Hay,the nonhero is foulmouthed,dirty-minded,snarky,smart bastard. He's British. He's pimply and balding and ugly. In short,he's like a whiff of fresh air after breathing only exhaust fumes for days. Though I'm no qualified judge whether the book is 80ish enough or not,being that I was not yet a human until 1993,what I can testify to is th
Svetlana Jovanovic
Still one of the best books I've ever read (and I've done some reading in my life). Since I ended up marrying the author, you could say it literally changed my life :) ...more
Mike Robbins
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It’s 1987. Sam Hay is a 17-year-old from a grotty part of Sheffield in England. His parents are dead, his sister a recovering alcoholic. Not a lot to lose really, so he enrolls as an exchange student and heads for high school in Houston, Texas. Totally amoral and nihilistic, he means to make his McMansion host family fund him through college. Along the way, he’ll slag off everything about them, their suburb, his American fellow-students and Texas in general while doing as many drugs as possible. ...more
Rebecca Gransden
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while and I’m very pleasantly rewarded. A superb and epic trip into adolescent nihilism utilised as selfdefense. The central character of Sam Hay wants out of Sheffield, seeing his only chance for something better as relocating to anywhere that will educate him and is as far away from the city as possible. An opportunity arises, his only opportunity in his eyes, to stay with a Texan family as a live-in student guest and embark an educational life in the Sta ...more
Mary Papastavrou
This was an epic and as any epos it went for full blown maximalism and I don't just refer to its considerable size but to its dense context as well. An ode after another: to the confusion and naivete and cruelty and arrogance of youth. To the music (so many bands, so many from Manchester). To the cheerfully easy dogmas and cliches that sound sooo profound.
Mainly an ode to the main hero's obsession to act as a Pretension Police. Whatever trait the people around him display which departs from his
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I feel like I have just spent Sam Hay's entire last year at high school, and I didn't want it to end! This book is longer than I first anticipated it to be, and it took me longer to read than normal because I just wanted to savour every single moment of this dark, gritty and humorous adventure.

Sam is seemingly out of his depth, plunged into a new country/school/family, you think that he's going to have major problems fitting in. Wrong. Sam is a cocky, sarcastic, manipulative nihilist who is only
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book is like riding the wickedest roller coaster on a not quite empty stomach and then tripping up as you get off it.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Right. So this makes for quite the twisty, twirly ride of the absolute head scrambling variety; delighting in randomness and unpredictability.

Excellent stuff.

I can honestly say, I had little idea what the hell to expect the entire way through…as is my nature, I frequently theorised my ass off, taking stabbing guesses, but not once did I hit even close to the mark; this I found refreshing and infuriating, both.

DoTG is the fictional memoir of Samuel Henry Hay, recounting that pivotal first year f
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to the author, Kevin Cole, for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Hmm. This book took me a long time to read. Almost as long as it took me to read The Book Thief although for a different reason. Or maybe I should be comparing it's length to Eragon or Lord of the Rings. Those are equally long books that took me forever to read but the ride was completely worth it in the end. Let me just say right now that picking up this book is an investment bu
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
**I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review**

Sam Hay is not the typical book hero you'll just adore. Oh no, if you ask me, he's far from that.

This is the story of a British teenage boy looking for a better life in America, and how his plan of getting pretty much everything he wants by manipulating others doesn't really go as well as he thought it would. Along the way, we also see many important issues being addressed, like sex, drugs, religion and more. And, even th
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This long and enjoyable novel is about Samuel Henry Hay, a very troubled English teen who heads to America in the tail-end of the 1980s in an attempt to escape his poverty-stricken life in England. It's a coming of age story of a young manipulative boy who, through his failed attempts at maturity, his successful awakenings, his struggles of will power and domination by more powerful figures in his life, along with various fun and dangerous escapades, slowly becomes a young, more stable adult. Th ...more
Charlotte Jain
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a little twisted and not for the faint of heart, and a bit devastating to read, but I’d say it’s a solid account of the world that these characters live in.

The writing is also very intelligent and well-crafted – this book infers a lot and lets the reader work things out (hint – pay attention to clues), where it would have been so easy to overdo explanations and make the story a lot more blunt.

The characters are written boldly. They’re unique, and particular, and richly depicted, a
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
1980s here I come! This was book a blast to my past, sort of. I great up in the 80s. This long and enjoyable novel is about Samuel, a very troubled teen who goes to America in the tail-end of the 1980s to escape his life. I think the book gave me a lot to think about but it was engaging and fun to read. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Aoibheann { ⊱Aoibh Reads⊰ }
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2015, r2r

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review...

Review originally posted here


Sam Henry Hay is a 17yr old from Sheffield, who visits Texas in '87 as an exchange student in the hope of furthering his opportunities. Planning to swoon his American "Parents", he hopes to be able to swindle them out of as much money as he can whilst being the perfect addition to their family.

Sure of who he is and where he is going, he meets people all around who he
Gin Oliver
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you’re whimsy for some 1980s reminisce? Days of Throbbing Gristle will be up your alley.

Samuel Hay is an aspiring scam artist with eyes on the prize of a decent education courtesy of Donna and Neil Turner – the wholesome Texan couple who have taken him in as part of an international hosting programme.

Sheffield born, bred and orphaned, at seventeen Sam is quite something. Self-assured, cocky-but-charming, intelligent with a sometimes cruel streak of confidence and perseverance – a beautifully
Elena Yurievna

I didn't expect it would be difficult to write about this book. There are so many things I would keep to myself and won't expose in a review. I want to place this book on "transformational" bookshelf. Usually, whilst reading at least 15% of a YA book I can totaly predict the ending and it's quite boring. But this book is no ordinary YA book.

Characters in this book are realistic as hell. Neither good nor bad and you could relate to most of them. I had such
Leo Robertson
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay so after a long weekend I finally finished this despite it being on my "Currently Reading" for almost a year! This isn't Cole's fault: big books take a daily pattern of reading to finish, and had I not been interrupted last year for whatever reason, I would've easily glided along this book's smooth-flowing prose to its awesome ending!

Sam Hay is a British gadfly on American soil, and it was a joy to see him clash and mesh with those around him across a final high school year. It's an accompl
★MC's Corner★
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it


*MC’s Corner*
• I’m on 13% I think and I already spent a time normally I’m not half of a normal book.
So yeah it’s really long.
It makes me want to grab a new book.

• I think it’s a bad idea to write a contemporary book with juvenile characters that is so long. I think when you write long book the best genre is fantasy and Sci/Fi
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Fantastic! but oh. SO. Long! I really enjoyed the first-person point of view this was written from, and the “thanks for reading my spiral notebook” gimmick was really great. However, that said, this book has ninety-three chapters! That’s a lot even by my Dickens-loving standards.

Check out the rest of my review here:
Raneem Abo Rmaila
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
I couldn't keep on reading it,It's not my type.
Though I kinda liked the main character at some point.
It also had some quite good quotes.

Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
May I be the first to say what an dark and gritty adventure this book as been. I had no idea what I was walking into when I read the first page, and now that I know, my thoughts are just whoa. This is not your typical teenager story; it's far from it. It is a smart, cunning, throat-cutting story with pockets of the reality dangers and risks during 1987.

Days of Throbbing Gristle tells the story of 17 year old Sam, who escapes from his dreadful life in England to Texas, America. His plan? Get an A
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is also on my blog Less Reality More Books

I had the opportunity to read this book as requested by the author himself. This book is not your typical tale of teenage angst and growing up in a foreign environment. While some people can easily navigate the world around them with ease and get through life without suffering, others find it more difficult. It brings to mind this quote:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well-preserved body, but r
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really didn't know what to expect when I received an email from author Kevin Cole with the heading "Book Review Request - Days of Throbbing Gristle" but I was very intriuged after I'd read the blurb and due to my love of big books (this one has over 800 pages!) I decided to give it a go.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I don't usually post the synopsis but I'm making an exception for this book as it will give you a much better overview than I could.

Does Heaven know you'r
David Baird
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a honest review.

First of let me tell you this book a quite long. Over 800 pages which is the longest book I've read but It is well worth reading.

The book follows Sam as he moved to the US to begin a new life away from Sheffield and is a coming of age tale with quite a lot of subjects thrown in. This is one of the main reasons I loved the book. How can you get bored with so many topics being examined by the author. Kevi
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Alright so when I started reading this book I loved how the main character was our narrator for the whole book. I loved how sarcastic and snarky he was. I also loved him because my husband is English and a lot of the things he said just sounded like a regular day in my house. It was great to have a main character that was real for me. It's so hard to relate some characters when they are all happy and get what they want.

I was enjoying this book as I was reading it. About half way through I was li
Edward Davies
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first thing I’ll say about this book is it is very, very long. I’m used to that with genres like horror or fantasy, but for contemporary fiction it felt at least twice as long as it could have been, and it might have been nice to see it split into a trilogy. That said, it is a fascinating look at the life of an English lad as he copes with life in 80s America and tries to twist things to his own ends, only to find that life has a way of twisting right back at him.

This isn’t for the faint of
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Kevin Cole was born in New York, raised in Texas, and now lives in Belgrade with his Serbian wife and their fat black cat.

Mr. Cole enjoys historical fiction, such as Gore Vidal, and fake historical fiction, like George R. R. Martin. He writes fake historical fiction set in the recent past.

Aside from making things up, Mr. Cole is fascinated by languages and economics, which have a lot in common wit

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