Monday, 18 July 2011

What we are reading

Submarine, by Joe Dunthorne

Submarine, set in our very own Swansea, is a coming of age novel infused with honesty and humour. It deals with some dark issues - depression, adultery, death, alcohol abuse - but manages to keep the laughs coming without dismissing those issues. Oliver, our unreliable narrator, emerges as a very likeable character, but depictions of the earthier aspects of teenage existence can be quite graphic, so approach with caution if you are easily offended! Critics' comparisons to Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) and Adrian Mole are fair, but Oliver and his experiences are firmly rooted in Swansea. Born and brought up here, Dunthorne's book is peppered with recognisable characters and locations which all add to the pleasure if you know the area.

I enjoyed this book enormously and would recommend it to anyone who is not of too sensitive a disposition. The insight it offers into the mind of a teenage boy is touching, amusing, and somewhat educational! The novel is available for loan from the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library.

1 comment:

  1. From Philippa's recommendation a few weeks ago, I decided to read Submarine and though initially wondered what I'd let myself in for, enjoyed it the further I got into the tale!

    As she mentioned above, at times the novel can be very funny but also touching, and most definitely educational - made me glad I'm no longer a teenager! Also living and working in Swansea it was great to see references to so many local places.

    For me, maybe the ending could have been more dramatic, but overall I enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading Joe Dunthorne's next novel 'Wild Abandon' which is being published next month. And lastly, I guess the film version of Submarine will also be worth a watch - anyone seen it?