The Man Who Loved Islands By David F Ross
The Disco Boys and THE Band are BACK …
In the early ’80s, Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller were inseparable; childhood friends and fledgling business associates. Now, both are depressed and lonely, and they haven’t spoken to each other in more than ten years. A bizarre opportunity to honour the memory of someone close to both of them presents itself if only they can forgive … and forget.
Absurdly funny, deeply moving and utterly human, The Man Who Loved Islands is an unforgettable finale to the Disco Days trilogy.
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The Review By J A Warnock
In the course of the couple of days, I’ve spent reading David F. Ross’s ‘The Man Who Loved Islands, I have come to think of it almost as one would think of a friend with a dissociative identity disorder. I say, friend, because there is much about this novel that I like but the personality of the book is, I think, disjointed and a little inconsistent. I put up with the aspects I didn’t like because there are others I liked immensely.
Ross creates a wonderful sense of time and place in each of the locations of this book by filling them with very specific musical, cultural and political references. This style occasionally meanders off into a brief treatise on the history of music mixing or the rise of capitalism but on the whole draws the reader in (or age permitting, takes them back) to an iconic era of change and fractured possibility. If you are under 35, you may need a little help from Google else gloss over some of the more oblique pop culture references.
I will confess a real fondness for novels set in towns I know so also very much enjoyed this trip down memory lane. The Kilmarnock references, in particular, are entirely recognisable and should seem familiar to anyone with knowledge of that place. It is always good when a novel captures the feel of a location as well as its description and Ross does this in spades.
The timeline jumps about a bit, not only via the dated chapters but also through the reminiscences of the characters within so beware it will keep you on your toes. There is a real feeling of loss in this book partly for events that unfold but more for life’s ability to unravel, to get away. Many, though thankfully not all, of the characters’ achievements are tinged with sadness and regret. As the novel progresses and the time lines converge we become witness to their attempts to confront, avoid, reconcile and obliterate various aspects of their pasts. This makes for an interesting if not always uplifting read.
‘The Man Who Loved Islands’ is cleverly constructed, well-paced novel that zips around the world and spans 40 years. My head is still spinning from both the tangential route and genre splicing soundtrack.
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Huge thanks to David F Ross @dfr10
, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the opportunity to be on the tour and for the review copy.