by Lynda Clark
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Pub Date 01 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 06 Apr 2020
A Note From the Publisher
Lynda Clark has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2019 for her piece, ‘Ghillie’s Mum’.
‘This is a remarkable debut, written with great warmth and wit. By turns devastating and hilarious, Lynda Clark’s Beyond Kidding had me from the very start, and it didn’t let me go.’ — Sarah Jackson, author of Pelt and winner of the Seamus Heaney Prize 2013
‘A dark and quirky debut – funny, sad, thought-provoking and unexpected.’ — Emma D’Costa, Commonwealth Writers
Average rating from 18 members
Where do I begin!?
How do I describe this book without putting you off? Sex, swearing, dysfunctional relationships and a completely ridiculous storyline but it just works perfectly!
100% this won’t be for everybody but I am bowled over and loved every chapter - even that ending which I cannot discuss and haven’t yet dealt with in my head 🙈
Rob works in a sex shop with his best friend bummer. Yes you heard that correct, bummer. - Rob decides that he wants more from his life and takes up a job in an office where, to make himself sound interesting he invents himself a son. (As you do!) Things spiral out of control and just when things can’t get any worse his son is found and returned to him. Yup, again you heard correctly. His invented son is returned to him looking exactly as the photoshopped pictures.
I’ll freely admit that the first couple of chapters were touch and go whether I should continue but I’m so very glad I did. Once I got into the writing style I was hooked. Funny, engaging and that bloody ending!
An impossible story told in such a way that I believed every second! One of my favourite books of the year 🥰
*goes to see if Lynda Clark has written anything else*
This is one of those books that hooks you in at the start and doesn't let go. It's very well written, easy to read and keeps you guessing.
It starts near the middle of the story and uses a series of clever flashbacks to tell the story of how we got to that point and then develops the story further.
The lead character, Rob Buckland has, in many ways, a repugnant personality yet provides plenty of laugh out loud moments, usually at completely inappropriate times. What starts as one lie gets completely out of hand yet he manages to maintain the facade getting deeper and deeper and more repugnant - and more funny - in the process.
There are times you question the reliability of his accounts, wondering if there is some fantasy or prank going on but you do see him maturing and changing through the story.
Having a friend called Bummer who owns a sex shop called the Empornium where Rob used to work provides many hilarious moments and the story develops the theme of friendship and the interactions between characters says a lot about our behaviours and relationships.
I really like how the story is serious yet retains a lot of humour, warmth and sci fi / fantasy themes without becoming implausable or ridiculous. I also didn't see the plot twist coming.
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