When I saw this on NetGalley, something went off in the back of my head. I was sure I’d hear of it and I was sure I’d hear it was good but I just couldn’t remember where or when I’d heard it! After speaking to Beth from Plastic Rosaries about it, I decided to give it a go.
Disraeli Avenue is a novella with characters from Smailes’ previous book, In Search of Adam. It’s set around the houses and their tenants of Disraeli Avenue in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Each chapter focuses on characters from a specific house and a snippet from their life. Now, because it’s set around In Search of Adam, it DOES give away what happens in that book, so beware of that, there’s big time spoilers. That said, you don’t need to have read In Search of Adam to enjoy this, as I certainly did. If you like people watching or are fascinated by the secret lives of others, then you’ll probably enjoy this. I for one like to this about people who pass me on the street (not in a creepy way!) and what part of their life they’re thinking about at that time and how my life in some very small way crosses theirs. Does that sound a bit strange? I just find it so interesting that all these different lives and issues surround you every day and yet most of the time we never get to hear about these things.
If you’re looking for something consistent, then you might not enjoy this. There’s a mixture of different chapter styles, from conversations in text messages to diary format to letters and to people gossiping on the phone. Some chapters are written in phonetic Geordie slang, so you can imagine how the speaker sounds. I personally liked these elements, I found it mixed things up and contributed to the idea that there’s all these different characters.
This is a quick read, I read it in one day while on various buses. Also all profits from this go to One in Four, a charity which provides support for people who have suffered from sexual abuse and sexual violence. There’s no real plot in this book but if you love things that are character driven and are nosy about the lives of others, you might enjoy this short read.
This copy was requested from NetGalley, with no obligation to produce a review. All opinions are strictly my own.