By Tom Shone
Thomas Dunne Books, $24.99, 342 pages
Patrick Miller, a literary agent, facing career issues in London, accepts a position in America. Thus begins his convoluted romp through Manhattan as he struggles to deal with his strange new life. Thinking he moved to New York to be with the American girlfriend he had met in London, he soon finds himself booted out of her apartment and on his own. From the first paragraph, I loved this clever, quirky story about a befuddled Brit. Written in the first person, the pages present a funny, sardonic view of New York, with wonderful descriptions of the people and places. As Patrick stumbles through his days, he faces increasingly difficult situations when he falls in love with an alcoholic young woman, endures crises at work, and ensnares himself in lies. The tension and suspense are delicious as he fumbles his romance and nearly gets fired. At one point he laments “I never meant to have stayed (in New York) . . . I felt like a soft-shelled crab scuttling around to avoid people’s feet.”
This is the second humorous and wonderfully written book for Tom Stone, who was educated at Oxford. He was once a film critic for the London Sunday Times and now lives in New York. The witty observations in this book are smart and amusing. The wry foibles of a man in denial about his drinking problem make him seem very human. The characters are lovable and unforgettable. This is an uplifting and entertaining book about a man’s hilarious adventures in his new home.
Reviewed by Fran Byram