Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Calling Major Tom

Image result for calling major tom david barnett

David M. Barnett has written a wonderful novel which through the irony of timing and the (un)fortunate nature of planning, has become a story that may well live longer in the memory than any other run of the mill novels that name check celebrity.

A typically British yarn that is a fish-out-of-water story about a man way in over his head and not being able to deal with the surroundings he finds himself in and yet overcoming those same odds to better himself; the lead character is rich in the vein of misanthropic antagonists who is at loggerheads with the world a la 'The Man Called Ove'.

Image result for calling major tom david barnett
David M Barnett, Author

Whilst reading you can seemingly imagine a film adaptation in the same remit as The Full Monty or an Ealing Studios masterpiece, a lithe British film that wants to shout out and say how mighty we can be while Americans look upon us as merely that small island.

The ending of the book is handled very well and warrants a re-read in how Barnett handles the two storylines coming together, whilst it is far-fetched to believe an astronaut circling the earth would make contact with a down on their luck family in Wigan; nevertheless the narrative and the delicately handled characters make the scene not so far fetched due to the lightness of the writing and dialogue.

While the title may well be indebted to the White Duke, David Bowie and certain songs are name dropped throughout, this does not read as a sycophantic novel that jumps on the death of an idol instead it reads as a comment on how that very special artist became somewhat embedded into our cultural psyche by just being memorable in terms of his persona and song-writing.

For this reviewer, it was a book that was read quickly and turned pages swiftly with its lightness of touch and deftness of plotting and character.

Calling Major Tom will be published by Trapeze on 18th May 2017, in paperback (£7.99) and e-book (£7.99).

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