Monday, September 15, 2008

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

A book "claimed" from
Submarine by Joe Dunthorne has a strong voice. The narrator, Oliver, a 15 year old boy in Swansea Wales, only child of an eccentric couple having marital troubles, has an interesting outlook on the world and his life. Throughout a coming of age year in his life, we hear of his interactions with his school mates, his parents and the girl who he has his first sexual encounter with.
Oliver is very concerned with his parent’s marriage which he sees is failing. His mother is intrigued with a former flame who has breezed back into her life offering excitement and enlightenment. Oliver obsessively follows this budding relationship and tries to sabotage it. What he succeeds in doing is throwing more light on his parent’s marriage which shows up all the ways that the couple have been pretending that “nothing is wrong”.
When I started reading the book the style of writing grated on me. The author wrote Oliver’s thoughts as Oliver thought them and they sounded and felt jumbled and I wasn’t sure if I could finish the book. After reading and becoming involved in the story for several more chapters I finally started to enjoy Oliver’s unique way of expressing himself but I never could completely relate to him. Sometimes I liked Oliver and he charmed me and other times I could not understand his reasoning or motivations and l felt repulsed by him.
I am glad that I persevered with this book. I know that Oliver’s voice will stay with me and continue to intrigue me. I may revisit him again at a later date.

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