Sunday, 11 January 2015

Book Review: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

Author: Caroline Smailes
Publication date: 11th April 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

   Wherever you may live there is always that one building of mystery and suspicion.  What if that building was an Edwardian bathing house called The Oracle?

   The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is a contemporary fairy tale set in the familiarity of an urban territory. It is a pool of morals and consequences to dive into for the characters; each of who we get to know through the multiple narrative voice which allocates each chapter to a character and their classical element.

   The chapters are, for the most part, quite short. This makes it perfect for the busy reader. Each character has a distinct voice, and the style changes from prose and script to create a little variation.

   Smailes references Waterloo Road multiple times, using the programme length of one hour as a unit of time for Arthur. Dora the Explorer is mentioned - "I'm like Dora the Explorer but less Spanish" - which I haven't been able to get out of my mind since I came across it! The human brain is a strange but beautiful place.

   Last year, I had the pleasure of The Shock of the Fall being my top read. But this year I think The Drowning of Arthur Braxton may have already claimed first place. It's like nothing I have ever read before!

   I first came across this peculiar novel in October through this video by Carrie Hope Fletcher. In fact, "I loved it . . . so good" was even directly quoted on my copy of the book which reminded me of how I had heard about the novel in the first place.

   The blurb sums up the narrative beautifully. If it in any way intrigues you, I urge you to go purchase a copy in your local book store. You too will be shouting about it from the heights of the earth for all to read!

   It's weird . . . but compelling. I'll warn you now that it doesn't start with Arthur's perspective - just in case that was what you were expecting.

   You'll meet Laurel, Delphina, Arthur, Silver, and more along the way. And they all have a story to tell. These stories all have a connection to the weird wonders of The Oracle, a place of fascination for dear Arthur.

   The story deals with love, facing up to reality, and other issues faced during teenage years. However, it's definitely not aimed at anyone below the age of sixteen due to its suggestive content and explicit themes of implied rape and death. In saying this, it is still a pleasure to read.

   I know that I will definitely re-read The Drowning of Arthur Braxton in the future for sure!


Thank you for reading.
Please do leave comments and I shall take a peek at any blog links you give me :)




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