A Saint in Swindon
by Alice Jolly
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 15 Apr 2020 | Archive Date 10 Jun 2020
When a stranger arrives in town, with a bulging blue bag and a whiff of adventure, the neighbourhood takes notice. When he asks for his meals to be sent to his room and peace and quiet for reading, curiosity turns to obsession. Each day he stays there, locked in his room, demanding books: Plath, Kafka, Orwell, Lawrence, Fitzgerald, James, Bronte (the eldest), Dickens, Dumas, Kesey – on and on, the stranger never leaving his room. Who exactly is he? What is he reading? And will it be able to save us from the terrible state of the world?
Written by award-winning author Alice Jolly, and based on an idea by the book lovers of Swindon town, this funny and, ultimately, dystopian tale, reminds us of the importance of literature in an increasingly dark world.
'An entertaining, comedic yet profound meditation on the replenishment and complications of reading in dystopia.' —Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People, shortlisted for The Women's Prize for Fiction 2019
‘This book demonstrates that the reader can have a truly symbiotic relationship with the writer. The result is an insight into a fascinating and inspiring world of reading!’ —Debbie Hicks MBE, Creative Director, The Reading Agency
Average rating from 14 members
It's 2030 and the days are getting hotter and hotter. A mysterious man arrives at a B&B, carrying nothing but a lumpy bag. He checks into his room; days pass and he does not come out. He does nothing but read and ask for more books. Soon questions are flying around the town and speculations spread like a virus. Is he a criminal? A celebrity in hiding? A saint? Is he reading to show others the way? As crowds begin to gather, and the urge to read becomes contagious , the outside world moves ever closer to its doom...
I adored this funny little novella and can't wait to read more by Alice Jolly. Her prose was crisp and clever and the plot and characters engaging. I also enjoyed the foreword explaining how the collaborative process used to create the story.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a slightly strange story to read in these slightly strange days of 2020.
Thank you to NetGalley and Fairlight books for the chance to read this book in exchange for a fair review.
Along with a rather comedic and insightful dystopian short story, the reader will also learn about the mechanics of how it was conceived and created.
This was in fact a commisioned work that Alice Jolly wrote for the Swindon Artwords reading group, who through their editorial meeting helped to shape the work. As Alice states in the Afterword, the members of the reading group became no longer consumers, but creators, having now an emtional investment in the story.
Given this background, it is no surprise therefore, that it is a book about the power of books and the impact that reading can have in an increasingly troubled world.
The book is set, fittingly enough in Swindon, in the year 2030.
It is a dry, very hot Summer, a hosepipe ban has been announced and things will get very much worse.
Arriving at a B & B comes a stranger with a bulging blue bag. He stays in his room reading all day and demanding more books. Meals are to be left outside and he is not to be disturbed.
Who is he and what relevance has he to the increasingly crumbling world outside?
This is certainly well worth a read and can be easily read in one sitting. It may even at some point be the choice for discussion by a book group.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Nora Murphy; Ragnar Jonasson; Katharine Schellman; Kelley Armstrong; James Byrne; Jennifer Hillier; Mark Pryor; Sandie Jones