Tuesday, May 01, 2007

CUTTING CALEB KEYS Glenn Bowden Penguin Books NZ$28.00

This is a first novel from young Cantabrian Glenn Bowden and on the strength of this one I reckon he has talent enough to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time writer. That’s not to say the dream will be realized but I reckon he should give it a go. One guesses he has written the story out of his own experiences and that protagonist Ollie is largely himself. The real test will be his second novel when he will be relying more on his imagination than the rewriting and embellishing of actual experiences

Ollie has broken up with his girlfriend Jude and is feeling sorry for himself and at a bit of a loose end when the Mum of his great friend Caleb Keys asks him if he will go to India to look for Caleb as she hasn’t heard from him in a long while and is rather anxious about his safety.
What follows is Ollie’s romp through India looking for his old mate.
Although well-written and fast moving I have to say I got rather tired of Ollie’s endless sexual conquests and drug taking. He must have tried every illegal substance known to man and then some more.

However for all that he does portray well the huge contrasts that one observes in India. This from early in the novel:

It’s the sordid sprawl of human poverty that will always stay in my mind. It surrounds you before you can find a way out. It clings to the blackened shores of polluted creeks and attaches itself to the flimsiest of structures, spilling into the streets from every direction.
Verging on the comparative order of the airport, the slum of Dharavi resembled a postwar city of smouldering rubble that spread like a smoking lahar, slowly bleeding its way across Mumbai’s moist tongue of land.

No question that he can write well and I look forward to his next effort.


Anonymous said...

an amazing book, a must read for anyone born between 1972 and 1980, this is our story

Alice said...

This man can write!!!! BUY This book and look out for his next one fans of Liverpool Football.

Alice said...

Awesome ...a great writer true to himself and his experience ,no complaints here, a journey well worth taking , just don't forget your balls.