FISHBOWL by Bradley Somer (Available from St. Martin’s Press).
“An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”
—Ian the Goldfish
A Bit About the book:
Told through the lens of a goldfish named Ian, falling from the twenty-seventh floor balcony of an apartment building, this novel follows an eclectic cast of characters on a single day. There is the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s superintendent who feels invisible and alone; the shut in; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.
Though they share time and space, the characters have something even more important in common: they all face an obstacle and each one must make a decision that will affect how his or her life will proceed.
In this one apartment building are stories of love, new life and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become, and of learning that sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward.
A few links to Order Fishbowl:
Some Reviews and Buzz:
“To decide to weave an intricate ensemble tale around the everyday lives, hopes and desires of those who occupy a high-rise apartment block is ambitious. To then decide that the hero of the story will be a philosophical goldfish – and that the novel’s ending will be given away inside the opening chapter – is just plain ballsy. But Canadian writer Bradley Somer pulls off the feat with ease.” – Shortlist
“Amazing.” – Cosmopolitan Magazine UK
“Somer tackles loneliness, life, love and death with wit and sensitivity, and the novel’s message – that ‘no single person lives their own life; we all live each other’s together’ – is one that warrants repeating, even at a goldfish’s rate of recollection.” – Globe and Mail.
“For all their eccentricities, these characters are united by a sense of desperation. ‘When they go through my belongings, they’ll find all the artifacts of a lonely man without a family,’ thinks the saturnine super. The quaint lesson of Mr. Somer’s bagatelle is that people should take flight from the narrow confines of their fears and find adventure in the wider world of others. That, and get their bored fish a companion or two.” – The Wall Street Journal.
“Fishbowl is an irrepressible novel—breezy, funny, sexy, and bursting with life. Bradley Somer has enormous affection and empathy for his cast of all-too-human characters (including the goldfish named Ian).” – Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers.
“Somer has created well-developed characters and effectively transports the reader into their three-dimensional worlds. . . genuinely touching.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Enjoyable touches of farce and wry asides abound, underscoring moments of reckoning in eccentric, yet deeply human, dilemmas.” – Publishers Weekly
“Fishbowl is a marvellous portrayal of the tentative — and often funny — ways human beings muddle about trying to connect with one another.” – Toronto Star
“Take the tumble with Ian. Perhaps like me you will fall, end over end, through these pages: expectant, engaged, enthused, curious, entranced, alarmed. Bradley Somer’s captivating first novel is a delight.” – Laura McBride, author of We Are Called to Rise.
“Funny and original – if this doesn’t make you feel empathy for your fellow humans I don’t know what will.” – The Portsmouth News.
“Fishbowl is a unique, innovative and thought provoking story about life and about people, with all their human qualities. It’s a really refreshing read that is a perfect book to take on your summer holiday.” – CultureFly.
“Fishbowl boasts an abundance of mordant whimsy fused to a bodhisattva’s sensibility, as if the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr. had mysteriously found himself reincarnated as the fifteenth Dalai Lama and then continued to write epigrammatic novels.” – James Morrow, author of Galápagos Regained
“There is a delightful strangeness here, but it is tempered by the acute realism with which it is paired, making Fishbowl an entertaining, engaging and poignant read.” – Bookreporter.
“Dancing from one storyline to the next ramps up the tension and Ian-the-goldfish’s plunge adds a continual line of cleverly built-up suspense. Although the novel’s internal time scale is just 30 minutes, Somer does an excellent job of sketching a collection of idiosyncratic yet widely plausible characters.” – The Press & Journal UK.
“Ian is an adventurous goldfish and one day he leaps out of his bowl ……. wait! Don’t click away. I don’t read novels about goldfish either (as a general rule) but if you stop reading now, you could miss finding out about a novel that is without doubt one of the best I’ve read this year… So. If you’re looking to read a book that’s funny, slightly raunchy, delightfully entertaining and exceptionally wise, then this is for you.” – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine.
“… Somer has written a provocative, cleverly structured and contemporary story complete with astute social commentary, compelling characters, interesting bits about quantum physics — and a sense of what it might feel like to be a wide-eyed goldfish corkscrewing through the air on an inadvertently suicidal high dive.” – Alberta Views Magazine.
“Fishbowl is a trip worth taking.” – Penticton Western News.
“Quirky, ambitious, with a touch of serendipity.” – Red Magazine UK
“Refreshingly original…quirky and colourful – if you want something different and unexpected to read this summer, this is definitely a break from the norm. ****” – Heat Magazine – UK
“You’ll fall in love with this great book and its quirky characters.” – Bella
… And More Stuff:
Winner of the 2016 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction.
Long listed for the 2016 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.
The San Diego Union Tribune – Fishbowl made the cut! “Best Books of 2015.” See the full list HERE.
Cosmopolitan UK Magazine’s “10 amazing books you need to read this summer”. See the full list HERE.
easyJet Inflight – Best summer reads list. Check it out HERE.
Kobo Cafe Interview – in which we discussed writing and Fishbowl, and on the more confessional side of things, what shocking finds you would make on my bookshelf. Read the full interview HERE.