From Publishers Weekly
Weird, in a good way, defines the spirited amalgam of madcap romanticism, mordant spirituality and oddball adventure that infuses British writer Millington's third novel (A Certain Chemistry
; Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About
). Rob Garland's life is decidedly unsettled. He's dithering about his upcoming nuptials. He's bored at the radio station where he hosts a late-night jazz show. And by all odds he ought to be dead, except that a quick errand, coupled with an infuriating traffic tie-up, makes him late for lunch with a musician—who is among those immolated when a tanker truck plows into the restaurant. After Garland forsakes his playlist one night to rant about his near-death experience, he finds himself at the center of a circle of like survivors, including a brawny American soldier who escaped death in war-torn Bosnia and an addled British schoolteacher who left her Bulgarian hotel in search of cigarettes and returned to find it in flames. There are times when this off-in-all-directions novel explodes into the edgily surreal, and its intense Britishness may confound some readers. But the audacious originality of Millington's witty plot and the energy of his crisp, comic dialogue are wholly engaging.
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Rob Garland, an engaged thirtysomething DJ for a late-night jazz show, is paralyzed by indecision. He can make the big life choices, but he can't decide which fork to wash first or whether to shower or bathe. Here's the problem--a couple months back, Rob would have died in a tragic oil tanker-related pub explosion, except he happened to hit a traffic jam. Overwhelmed by the potentially calamitous consequences of his every action, he soon breaks down and starts discussing his problem with his tiny radio audience. And that's when the fun starts. Through the show, Rob meets a burly young American veteran, and the two soon embark on a madcap quest for the meaning of life. Along the way, they meet a suicidal literature buff and an ubermystical psychic, who warns them that evangelical Christians are out to kill Rob to preserve predestination. Excellent dialogue, great pacing, and strong characterizations pull the novel through its periodic implausibility. This could have been just another Bridget Jones for boys, but it's as memorable as it is heartwarming and as deep as it is fun. John GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved