Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Article published on July 31, 2015.

Last month, I spoke about an Irish novel in which the protagonist spent most of the time discoursing with his one-eyed canine companion. This month I’m discussing a philosophical goldfish! Truly, the reviewing life is a dog’s life.

Bradley Somer“Making a splash” this summer, according to the Ebury publicist, is Australian writer’s Bradley Somer’s debut novel, Fishbowl, in which Ian the Goldfish dreams of adventure and finds it when a series of unfortunate events gives him an opportunity to escape. From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian has frequent desires for a more exciting life. The opportunity arises when he escapes from his fishbowl, leaps the balcony rail and finds himself plummeting earthwards. On the way down he witnesses the strange lives of the Seville on Roxy residents. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time. As Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he is vouchsafed a vision of the human comedy in all its diversity.

It all sounds wildly improbable but since Somer exhibits what one critic called “a bent for the off-kilter with a touch of the urban fantastic” in his short stories, we must be confident that the falling fish will have much to tell us about the human condition. “Less thinking, more doing,” is the goldfish’s philosophy and there are not many of us who wouldn’t benefit from taking that little maxim to heart.

Extending the piscine metaphor, the blurb promises “an extraordinary tale that will warm the cockles of your heart.” Who will they get to review it in the broadsheets, one wonders? AA Gill? Salmon Rushdie?

Bert Wright, Editor – The Nudge List

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer is published by Ebury in hardback on 6th August.

Watch a video about the book

Read Guy Pringle’s review of the book


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