A brilliant, touching and funny debut about an extraordinary friendship, a kidnapping, memory championships and a Russian bride
Saul Dawson-Smith can memorise the sequence of a shuffled deck of cards in under a minute; he can recite pi to a thousand decimal places and he remembers every conversation he's ever had. He is ten years old.
Howard McNamee is twenty-eight: lonely, overweight and poorly educated. He lives far from the scene of his difficult Glasgow childhood, in the home he shared with his mother. Struggling to pay his rent with a succession of menial jobs, Howard comes home each day and talks to the late Mrs McNamee, as he sits in front of the wardrobe that still contains her clothes.
These two solitary people find themselves forming an unlikely friendship, as Howard is taken under the wing of Saul's parents, thrust into a life in London (where he tries to navigate a bewildering new city and accidentally acquires a Russian internet fiancee), and Saul prepares himself for the World Memory Championships - the event he has been training for his whole life.
But as the pressure mounts on the young boy Howard realises he must act to save his small friend from a life of unbearable expectation. The decision he reaches turns all of their lives upside down.
Saul and Howard embark on an extraordinary adventure: the road trip they take together is an exhilarating escape-bid, a journey into Howard's past and a bewitchingly strange voyage of discovery for man and boy.
a winning and often very funny odd-couple caper - Andrew Holgate
This is a novel bursting with incident, humour, humanity and literary promise
Foulds has a fine turn of phrase
a winning and often very funny odd-couple caper - SUNDAY TIMES - Andrew Holgate
This is a novel bursting with incident, humour, humanity and literary promise - SUNDAY TIMES
Foulds has a fine turn of phrase - JEWISH CHRONICLE
A stylish debut novel of bittersweet humour - GOOD BOOK GUIDE
Adam Foulds was born in 1974 and lives in South London. He read English at St. Catherine's, Oxford, has a Creative Writing MA from UEA and received the Harper-Wood fellowship from St. John's College, Cambridge. His poetry, praised by Christopher Reid and Craig Raine, has appeared in magazines such as Arete, Stand and Quadrant. He is the author of The Truth About These Strange Times which won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.