The Roundabout Man – Clare Morrall

The Roundabout Man



I have previously enjoyed other books by Clare Morrall, “The Man who Disappeared”, “The Language of Others” , “Astonishing Splashes of Colour”.  Her characters usually drift around the edges of “normality”, not quite fitting in with the mundanity of daily life.  Quinn Smith, the protagonist of her latest novel, follows this pattern, having elected to opt out of his usual routine and, ironically, achieve tranquillity living in a caravan on a busy roundabout.  Disruption comes with the arrival of a junior reporter for the local rag, trying to sniff out a human interest story and Quinn’s life is literally turned upside down.

 Like the roundabout, the telling of Quinn’s tale takes the reader on a meandering, circuitous route as we gradually learn more about this reclusive character.  The narrative flits between present and past, giving us snippets of Quinn’s rather unusual childhood, son of a prolific children’s author who showed little affection to her own three children or indeed the series of 14 foster children who make brief appearances.  The mother is very reminiscent of Enid Blyton with her predilection for creating stories of a bygone age and a nostalgia for an innocence which perhaps never was.  Ironically, Quinn’s present isolated existence with a narrow circle of acquaintances seems to be his first opportunity to live life to the full, away from the shadows of the past.

 This is a beautifully written story with fully realised and engaging charcters. It’s a slow burner and one which rewards the reader’s time and concentration.   At times I was slightly irritated by the tortuous nature of the narrative but then Quinn certainly didn’t lead a straightforward life!   Fans of Clare Morrall will not be disappointed.


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  1. Fleur Fisher says:

    I’m so pleased to read a positive report – I like Claire Morrall’s writing, but I was a little surprised by the choice of subject matter.

  2. admin says:

    Jane, it’s positive if you’re already a fan as her writing is very good. I don’t think the merrygoround/roundabout structure will be as welcoming for new readers. My favourite of hers is Astonishing Splashes of Colour.

  3. Verity says:

    Ooh – I’m a big fan of Clare Morrall – I must have missed this coming out!

  4. Treez says:

    Verity, it’s not out until 2nd February next year – I was lucky enough to choose an early review copy from Amazon Vine!

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