Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Book Review: Life Knocks by Craig Stone


 According to the blurb Life Knocks is about "when love goes wrong and forces a recluse to live with an old man who has boundary issues." Not a lot to go on then but it was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and I like to support indie authors so I thought I'd give it a go.
There are some books that have me hooked from the first page, others take a while longer and I dip in and out for a bit until one day I realise the ten minute read before I start the dinner has turned into an hour and I've forgotten to feed the children. Life Knocks was that sort of book for me.
Craig Stone has a quirky style of writing with a particularly unique eye for an unusual metaphor; "Love is a bath of beans with a pig dressed as a clown and a naked farm girl; pretty much amazing when you get over the shock." This is a book that is far more than its metaphors though. With any character driven book it's vital that I engage with the main protagonist and I soon warmed to Colossus Sosloss (really!). There were times I wanted to shake him, to tell him to shut up or to speak up but throughout the book I cared about what happened to him. The other characters too were sympathetically written, even the racist, sexist, homophobic landlord, Mohammed has moments where I felt real warmth towards him.
The book swaps between the past and present (I seem to have read a few books like this recently) and sometimes with a switching narrative I find I'm more interested in one period than the other. Not so with Life Knocks, I was as captivated by Colossus' past as his present and following his journey to discover how one led to the other was a fascinating, hilarious, tear jerking yet uplifting rollercoaster of a read.
If you like contemporary fiction that doesn't pull any punches then I think you'll find Life Knocks a refreshing read. I know I did and am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness (actually published before Life Knocks) very soon.

Life Knocks is available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Lulu.com

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