Diary of a Somebody
It’s January 1st and Brian Bilston is convinced that this year his New Year’s resolution will change his life. Every day for a year, he will write a poem. It’s quite simple.
Brian’s life certainly needs improving. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a motivational speaker and indefatigable charity fundraiser to boot; he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son; and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon.
So poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis at Poetry Club and rival suitor to Liz, Brian’s new poetic inspiration.
When Toby goes missing, just after the announcement of the publication of his first collection, This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleave, Brian becomes the number one suspect. If he is to regain his reputation and to have a chance of winning Liz, he must find out what has happened to Toby before it is too late.
Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is the most original novel you will read this or any year.
In the media
Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I’m giving it to EVERYONE, and I want to appear clever and discerning. It’s a very funny/touching/novel/ poetry kinda book all about the big/little stuff, and above all, it’s eminently wrappable.
Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year.
The English comic novel, whose death this year was announced prematurely, is actually alive, well and in the safe hands of Brian Bilston. Here is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud comedy of suburban despair in the great tradition of David Nobbs and Sue Townsend. And it comes, of course, with the added bonus of Bilston’s poetry, sparkling here with all the wit, intelligence and humanity that has won him more than 50,000 followers on twitter.
Jonathan Coe, author of Middle England
Highly original, genuinely funny and clever, with a gentle humanity in between the lines. Brian Bilston should be Poet Laureate.