by Tim Thornton

4*

I was once in a band, long ago, when the fictional members of Tim Thornton’s unsigned band were all small children, but it seems little has changed. This is a deeply familiar world, of pubs and clubs, battered transit vans, dank rehearsal studios and cold dingy bedsits full of fag ends and coffee cups and the stale smell of old patchouli.

There’s more than a touch of Nick Hornby in this closely observed comedy about the members of a struggling band, desperate to be signed. The story is told mainly through the eyes of almost-impossibly-anal, teetotal band leader, Russell, who frustrates, irritates and endears himself, by turns. The characterisation is superb, anyone who’s ever spent any time in this world will recognise these people.

It’s a beautifully told story that finished very nicely indeed, exactly as it should, a really well-rounded novel with great characters and enough surprises to please – and if someone doesn’t turn this into a film sometime soon, I shall be very surprised.

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