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The Roundabout Man

Clare Morrall

8 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

By the Booker-shortlisted author of ASTONISHING SPLASHES OF COLOUR, a wry, poignant novel about a man trying to escape his fame as the boy in his mother's bestselling books.

Who is the Roundabout Man?

He doesn't look like a tramp, yet he lives on a roundabout in a caravan and survives on the leftovers from a nearby motorway service station. He calls himself Quinn, the name of a boy in a world-famous series of children's books, but he's nearer retirement than childhood.

What he hopes no one will discover is that he's the real Quinn, immortalised as a child by his mother in her entrancing tales about a little boy's adventures with his triplet sisters. It is this inheritance he has successfully run away from - until now. When Quinn's reclusive existence is invaded, he has to turn and face his past, and all the uncomfortable truths it contains about himself, his sisters and, most of all, his mother.

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Praise for The Roundabout Man

  • The storyline is well-crafted, but what distinguishes this novel is its terrific cast, with vividly drawn principals and bit-parts alike - truly impressive and really enjoyable. - Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail

  • well-tempered and charming... Morrall's language is clear, simple and precise, much like a children's story itself, so that the effect is as if you are returning to those simpler days of storytelling at your parents' feet. But, as she makes clear, they were never that simple....[she] discusses the blurring of fiction and reality with a sapient, often sorrowful humour. - Philip Womack, Telegraph

  • Morrall has always excelled at portraying individuals who are out of kilter with the world and critical of it...The fundamental mystery of the artistic imagination is one of the threads that run through Morrall's novel, along with its destructive effects on those in proximity to the artist and the extent to which every life is fictional...Best of all is the portrait of the hapless Quinn. Despite his glamorous back story, he has no outstanding qualities yet is quietly fascinating. - Suzi Feay, Literary Review

  • Morrall's fictional eye is set firmly on the quirks of the individual. It is an approach that has served her brilliantly...And Quinn fits the mould wonderfully. Morrall writes with poise and delicacy, and her subjects are delightfully offbeat. - Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

  • Why he's [Quinn] had to hide from his own life is beautifully, lyrically and subtly unfolded here by Clare Morrall, a novelist to watch. - Resident

  • ...a warm and wise novel about celebrity and the clash between childhood nostalgia and reality... - Good Housekeeping

  • Clare Morrall brings her flair for capturing people on the periphery of society to the fore in this witty look at the gulf between past and present, and childhood nostalgia. - Stylist

  • Witty and well-observed...With its relentless attention to detail, packed with secrets and revelations, this is a novel to be explored as much as enjoyed. Morrall invites us to abandon ourselves to the thrill of discovery as we join Quinn on his final adventure, and it's a very welcome invitation - We Love This Book

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Clare Morrall

Clare Morrall's first novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, was published in 2003 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year. She has since published the novels Natural Flights of the Human Mind, The Language of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read in 2010, The Roundabout Man and After the Bombing.

Born in Exeter, Clare Morrall now lives in Birmingham. She works as a music teacher, and has two daughters.

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