READ 19 – 20 January 2012
MY RATING 4 / 5
So…. Where on earth do I start with this book? When I first looked at the synopsis I said to my husband that this book would either be ‘brilliant’ or complete rubbish… and if I’m honest, I’m still not sure if it’s a work of genius, or the eccentric ramblings of a madman.
After a particularly violent fall from grace involving a recklessly homicidal umbrella, Philias Switchmoat the Third took a vow of horizontality. Never again would he resort to the vertical. But that wasn’t going to stop him from leaving his mark on the world. Not even the hordes of undead zombies, a sexually deviant Priest, an aggressively threatening government official, murderously incompetent hotel staff, a malevolent cat and the combined efforts of the Metropolitan Police’s elite SWAT team were going to stop him from doing that.
The story focuses on Phillis Switchmoat the Third, an eccentric character living in an upmarket London hotel. Day quickly introduces us to the man’s eccentricities, and he does so in such a manner that you very quickly visualise Switchmoat and the poor Hotel Manager, the Maid and the poor put upon Bell Boy.
The story is fast paced and veers into seemingly complete randomness, from a foray into Buddhism (which had me laughing out loud) to a tuba maestro to an Art Installation at the Tate Modern.
The book is littered with superb lines, my absolute favourite being
‘I am not an outsider. I am an insider who discovered that everyone else went out’.
A line that perfectly encapsulates how readers will feel about this book – you’ll either ‘get it’ or you won’t.
I have to say this book is unlikely, in my opinion, to appeal to an American audience, I think it is just a jump too far into eccentricity but if you’re a fan of off the wall British humour – the only thing that comes anywhere close to a description of this book would be to imagine Russell Brand crossed with Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer and I’m afraid that even that is not a great likeness!
I’ve never read anything quite as odd as this book, and equally never enjoyed something as odd as this book!. There are points at which Day unleashes pure genius that in an instant gets to the heart of British life.
Day has a way with words that is unrivalled, and I hope Philias overcomes his traumas and welcomes us back in his world of Horizontality.
To follow Stephen on twitter, visit @philias3or visit his website for more info