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Tunnel Vision Paperback – October 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this entertaining first novel, Andy, a 20-something bookstore clerk and subway buff, bets Rolf, a fellow "trainspotter," that he can visit every stop on the London Underground in one day. That one day, however, happens to be the eve of his wedding, and he has bet his passport, his train tickets and his honeymoon that he can pull off this nigh-impossible caper. Hijinks ensue, although they're not quite as much fun as the concept seems to promise. Early on in his frantic journey, Andy is befriended by a tramp named Brian, who tags along, helping Andy strategize and take photos of each station sign. Meanwhile, Andy's sensible fianc‚e, Rachel, who is thoroughly sick of Andy's hobby, stews at home, further annoyed by anonymous calls from the creepy Rolf, who, it turns out, is secretly in love with Rachel and engineered the bet in order to sabotage the wedding. As the tension builds underground and above, Andy begins to catch glimpses of sinister, shadowy figures in empty stations and sees Rolf's machinations behind every delay and setback. A novel about a man riding the subway all day doesn't automatically offer much excitement, and to keep things moving, Lowe throws in some silly stylistic excursions e.g., a chapter with the wordsruntogetherlikethis to evoke the feeling of a jam-packed train. The plot sometimes jolts and lurches, and Andy's hand-wringing angst over Rachel gets tiresome. Still, the narrative does eventually develop velocity, even though the ending isn't the satisfying train wreck readers may hope for. The movie-ready premise and Lowe's breezy, conversational style make for a light, enjoyable romp. (Oct.)Forecast: Those who couldn't get enough of the movies Speed or Run Lola Run are the natural audience for this caper.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

"It's a difficult combination of thoughts to come to terms with: the fact that your fiancee thinks you're an idiot coupled with the fact that one of your friends is trying to steal her away from you." So concludes Andy, as he ponders the impossible situation he has brought upon himself by making a drunken bet with fellow train geek Rolf. It is the day before Andy's wedding, and instead of packing for his Paris nuptials, he is trying to win the bet: to travel the entire London tube system within 24 hours, stopping at key stations along the way to pick up his passport, Euro Star pass, and honeymoon reservations, which Rolf has hidden. Andy enlists the invaluable aid of the homeless Brian, fond of sipping Tennent's Super in the early hours while gently lecturing Andy on his priorities, or, rather, more precisely, his lack of priorities. As the two embark on their whirlwind, exhausting tour of the London Underground, they encounter a series of minidramas, share their histories, talk about their fascination with trains, and, finally, discuss the things that really matter, namely, their love lives. A sweet, surprisingly suspenseful novel that makes perfect subway reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743423526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743423526
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Read this book for fun.
Mindy
In the end, what one has is a book that never quite lives up to its potential, but is nonetheless an enjoyable pageturner.
A. Ross
This book is funny - very few make me laugh out loud in the middle of the night, and I couldn't put it down.
M. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Whether you like this book will depend on large part how willing you are the accept its basic premise: that a slightly geeky 20-something Londoner would keep a drunken bet (his passport, Euro Star pass, and honeymoon tickets vs. a collectible set of train tickets) that he could travel the entire London tube system in a day, that day being the one before he gets married. If you're willing to roll with that premise, then you're probably willing to overlook the shallowness of the characters and the herky-jerky flow of the book. Some may find the protagonist Andy a bit hard to like, since he's largely in a mess of his own making, however he's got just that right balance of geek and everyman about him to keep you rooting for him. For reasons that are never explained, a homeless man of remarkable stamina, coherency and wisdom decides to tag along for the fun, which gives Andy someone to relate the story of his relationship to and someone to save the day from time to time. Andy's friend Rolf, with whom he made the bet, is at least given some motivation for his nefarious actions-although he also comes across as a one-dimensional supergeekvillan.
The story is probably best appreciated by those who've had wide contact with the London tube, although you could pretty much do the same story in New York (although it would take more like a weekend). In fact, don't be surprised if the movie takes this route (and there will be a movie, rarely have I come across a book that translates so directly to screen as this). Of course, one expects complications and wacky hijinks to ensue, and they do, but somehow aren't as wacky as one expects. And then there's a whole semi-conspiracy subplot which peters out disappointingly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Diane Moore VINE VOICE on December 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This almost 400 page book takes the time of an entire day starting at 5:00 in the morning. Andy leaves his flat early while his fiance Rachel quietly sleeps. He's supposed to leave on the Eurostar train with Rachel, at midnight, but he happened to make a bet with his "friend you love to hate" Rolf, who is a "tube enthusiast," like himself.

So, the bet goes like this. Rolf thinks that Andy cannot travel around the ENTIRE tube in a single day. Andy thinks that he can. He is supposed to go around and take pictures of all of the signs, pick up envelopes that are taped to non-moving trains and behind soda machines, and finish before the Eurostar is supposed to leave. He is supposed to receive the last envelope from Rolf, which contains his tickets. Will he make it?

Knowing the unpredictability of the London underground, this made for an original plot. There can be delays, accidents, people throwing themselves on the tracks. He can't take any overground transportation, it has to be the tube. If Rachel finds out about this bet, where he basically threw his marriage in the pot, would she still marry him? She tries to ignore his obsession with the underground, but this is ridiculous.

All in all, it was fun to read about. It was very detailed and made me wonder if the author walked through his book, tracking down small details as he went. For a while, I was starting to wonder if it would become boring, following Andy through his travels all alone, but he met Brian, a homeless man who jumped on his coattails. Andy is annoyed with him at first, but the longer they are around each other, they start to form an unlikely friendship. Brian makes the story a little more readable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mindy on December 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book drew me in immediately.
The first person narration by Andy is delighful. He tells his story as though he were speaking directly to me, the reader. I found this particularly engaging. This technique helps the story immensely because we, as readers, are able to sympathize with Andy. His obsessive tendencies, delusional optimism, and extreme paranoia don't seem that freakish when viewed through his eyes. Andy just seems like a good guy.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever gotten carried away, anyone who tends to be a little obsessive, or anyone who likes a good action filled book.
The story moves quickly and so do the pages. Read this book for fun. The first few chapters had me laughing out loud.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Jones on October 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had to get this book after my first visit to London - there was a large poster for it at my tube stop that I saw every day. I wasn't expecting much, but I so thoroughly enjoyed this book, I had to write my first Amazon review. This book is funny - very few make me laugh out loud in the middle of the night, and I couldn't put it down. Read it straight through in 2 sittings. I wanted a little more London, as I'm still in "vacation" mode, but what do you want from a book that spends 90% of its' time on trains or in stations? I wouldn't necessary recommend this to anyone who hasn't experienced the tube station either extensively or recently. I still think the book is enjoyable enough that anyone can get into it, but I have a bias in that area. The pace is quick, the writting fast and concise. I felt nearly as out of breath as Andy did running platform to platform, diving for trains. At times, the literary equivalent of a chase film, but with a plot. I hope you give it a try!
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