Friday, 2 September 2016

Feeding Time by Adam Biles

Reviewer: JJ Marsh

What we thought: A disorientating mix of surreal and only-too-real, funny and bitterly sad, optimistically hopeless and fatalistically uplifting. An old folks’ home run by a cynical corporate management seems a depressing prospect. The physical deterioration of the residents is mirrored by their shabby surroundings and echoed by the crumbling morality of their ‘CareFriends’.

But the failings of the body are tempered by this exceptional tribute to the human mind. Imagination, whether manifest in stubborn delusion, drug-fuelled fantasy or erotic daydream, is the unifying element and only means of escape. And everyone, staff, residents and visiting relatives want nothing more than to escape.

Dot’s here looking for Leonard. His mind has gone and after the incident with the horse, she knows she can’t cope alone. She follows him to Green Acres, which seems at odds with the pictures in the brochure. She’s on Ward B, not the best, but not the worst. The question remains, where is Leonard?

Populated by fascinating characters of both the endearing and repulsive kind, the bizarre power struggles at the heart of Green Acres lure the reader closer with sharp observation and dark humour. This book provokes thoughtful reflections on mortality, ageing and inevitability, but does so while making you laugh and occasionally grimace.

From a writer whose imaginative acrobatics are ably supported by his dexterity with language and voice, this book will get under your skin.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Hundred-Year Old Man Climbed Out Of A Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, The Works by Joseph Connolly, Epitaph for a Working Man by Erhard von B├╝ren

Avoid if you don’t like: Some graphic physical descriptions of bodily functions, the truth about ageing, shifting realities

Ideal accompaniments: A pint of cloudy cider and a pork sausage grilled till the skin spilts.

Genre: Contemporary

Available on Amazon

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