The Roundabout Man – Clare Morrall

What must your young life be like if your mother is a famous author and her books are based on you and your triplet sisters?

Excitement at being famous? A close family? A financially secure present and past?

What if you grow up and still that millstone of a few famous books when you were child carries on into adulthood? And you are the only one keeping your mothers past and actually your mother alive?

This is the story of Quinn who has escaped all of this and lives on a roundabout?.A roundabout near a motorway service station which is his whole world. Where he scavenges for food, drink and friendship. He knows all the workers and they know him. Even if he tries to keep a low profile.

Imagine what would happen if the press got hold of where he lived and the conditions he lived in? The legacy of being Quinn the boy in those infamous childhood books would suddenly be the most important thing? Can Quinn avoid anyone knowing the real truth about him?

This book reminded me of the hearsay about the author Enid Blyton and her rather difficult relationships with her own children. It seems her legacy was a not a nice one for her offspring. This seemed to be the same with Quinn and his sisters, who escaped rather quickly when old enough and have been fairly disjointed from each other for the rest of their lives. At times I found it was quite painful to read when you see how the mother reacts to her own children and it did not make sense when they took in foster children. The past that Quinn had was rather painful and it has obviously affected his adult life which Clare Morrall dealt with well and in surprising ways; hence the title of the book.

I found the writing a bit odd to begin with it goes back between the past and present and it was not always clear where the division was and the added excerpts of the books made it a book you did need to concentrate on. It took some time to get used to the writing but once I did I was drawn in to the is world. Morrall brought to life the service station and you could well imagine someone living there and getting away with it for a long time. The anonymity of a place which is just somewhere where people simply pass through, nothing else.

This is a book is slow throughout but not in a detrimental way, it is not supposed I feel to have page turning moments and heart stopping twists and turns. It is a story of a family and how they exist and survive with a past.

This was a book I would not have picked up if it was not for the wonderful blogs that I read where I first spotted it. It was different, I was captured by the idea of a man living on a roundabout. Also once I started reading I was drawn into the world of being famous almost by default and the impact that can possibly have on you. 

A very different read that doesn’t fit easily into any category and cannot be summed up as a book about one particular genre or aimed at a particular audience. It is aimed at anyone who likes reading quite simply. I am intrigued about what Clare Morrall’s other novels are like and will add her name to the every growing list of people to read. 


2 thoughts on “The Roundabout Man – Clare Morrall

  1. I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t in the same league as ‘Astonishing Splashes of Colour’, which is outstanding – I highly recommend you read it!. I also saw the similarites with Enid Blyton as I happened to watch a documentary about Blyton’s life a few weeks before I read this book. I wonder whether the author intended to base this book on Blyton?

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