A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.
There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.
Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”
Fishbowl is a unique and entertaining novel told from the perspective of a goldfish, falling out of a window and down many flights of stairs. Whilst he falls he observes the people inside these windows and their various and often contrasting lives. We also see their lives in the minutes leading up to this and learn more about their personal situations which is like becoming a voyeur and peeking into their private lives!
The characters in this story are all really interesting and made me want to read more about them. I particularly like Katie, whose boyfriend Connor we quickly learn is being unfaithful, builder Garth who has a secret and Jiminez, the janitor who seems to be taken advantage of a little by his boss. They were all vibrant, compelling characters.
There are times in the novel when I felt sad, happy, disheartened and uplifted. It took me a chapter or two to get into but once I did I loved every moment. The fact that the characters all live so close together but only a few people actually meet each other, and even that always seemed to be by complete chance, was interesting to me as I live in a city and often think about how little we know of our neighbours and people living around us.
Bradley Somer writes really beautifully- at some points I was blown away by the language he uses and love the way he so perfectly conveys the interior monologue of the characters, so you feel like you really knew them.
I would definitely recommend this novel, especially if you love peeking into the lives of other (fictional) people!
Fishbowl is out now, published by Random House UK.
Many thanks to the publisher for providing an Advance Reading Copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
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