A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white. A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.

Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.

#TheDavesNextDoor #WillIBlowUpThisTrain? #blogtour @Will_Carver @OrendaBooks
#RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours

Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode. Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.

My Review

How can I pigeonhole this book? Metafiction? Postmodern? Self-reflexive? God only knows and in this novel God is the unreliable, omniscient narrator. At least I thought so. Only the narrator realises he’s not God. He’s the would-be terrorist.

‘What if God was one of us,
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus (or tube train in this case)
Tryin’ to make his way home?’

Remember that song by Joan Osborne? The author does. He asks if me, the reader, is singing that song in my head right now. I am. I loved that song.

Did you see the film Sliding Doors? In one version of her life, the main character catches the subway, while in another parallel version she doesn’t. We see how the different versions play out and how it affects the direction her life takes. The author uses this technique a number of times to great effect.

I read a review in which the reviewer said ‘One character that I could particularly relate to, and to an extent empathise with, was that of Vashti, the disillusioned and uncaring nurse.’ Personally I felt most connected to the old man Saul. Not because I could necessarily relate to him, but because his story made me cry. Poor Saul, who didn’t want to live without his beloved Ada.

The Daves, the neighbour, the sportsman who broke his leg and now only sees in black and white, Thomas Davant, champion of causes. the fake angels trying to persuade Saul he’s in Purgatory so they can con him out of his home and of course nurse Vashti.

This is such a hard book to review. It’s not just about what happens to individual people, but why and how they are all connected, even though most of them have never met each other. The suicide bomber rides the Circle Line every day, waiting for the exact right time to detonate. Asking questions like Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

And that ending. I really didn’t see that coming – maybe I’m being naive or stupid or both, but I actually gasped.

This book is everything you come to expect from Will Carver. Different, unique, shocking, emotional and ultimately satisfying. A true masterpiece.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

About the Author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in the Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.

1 Comment on “The Daves Next Door by Will Carver

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