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Eleven Paperback – 19 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (19 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847379680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847379689
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 510,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`You may recognise Mark Watson's name from TV panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week, from his pear cider ads or from his stand-up routine... But this, the comedian's third novel, cements his reputation as a witty, sharply observant writer' --Stylist 8/6

`Here's a rather sickening fact for you: at just 31, comedian Mark Watson has written three novels. And to add insult to injury, they've all been excellent. His latest follows the superbly named Xavier Ireland - a secret-harbouring DJ who inadvertently sparks a chain of events that sees his own life, and 10 others, rapidly unravel. The compelling plotline and sharp, witty prose combine to make Eleven Watson's finest literary achievement yet. Prepare to battle envious emotions the whole way through'
--Shortlist 9/6

'Emotive, dark and funny in all the right places'
--Venue Magazine, June Issue --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Mark Watson is an acclaimed novelist and comedian, best-known for his appearances on Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You and Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow as well as the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2010 his 50-date solo stand-up tour will play to over 60,000 people.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By J Davis on 2 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Somewhat out of character for a bloke who can have a novel on the go for well in excess of a month, I lay in the garden and devoured Eleven in a weekend. I attribute this partly to the weather, partly to the fact that my girlfriend was otherwise detained but mostly to the quality of Watson's writing.

Anyone familiar with Watson as a comedian will be aware that his appeal is down to more than just him 'being funny'; he's humble enough to endear himself without being too self-deprecating and his insight can challenge your thoughts without seeming preachy. These aspects of his personality are naturally evident in his writing.

Eleven is the story of eleven people with little in common other than their geographic location and a single string of related events, invisible to everyone but the omniscient reader. It's also the story of one of those eleven having his arm twisted into being a better person, having a tangible positive effect on his world while around him the aftershocks of a previous bad decision rumble on, more disastrously than he would have ever imagined.

It's a romanticised view, to some extent, and Watson applies a degree of artistic licence but it remains honest because it undoubtedly reflects exactly the sort of chain reaction of actions and consequences that is going on around us all the time, undetectable from the viewpoint of someone on the inside looking out.

Ultimately, Eleven serves as a touching illustration of how decisions we make or fail to make can affect ourselves and others in ways we couldn't dream possible, causing you to ask yourself the simultaneous questions 'Could I be better?', 'Should I be better?' and 'Why do I bother?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By LeahSmith on 24 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
It was a nice book and an interesting read, did make me think about my actions and how they impact on others. I don't think it will win any awards but I would recommend it if you want a nice, simple read that will make you smile in parts and gasp in shock in others. Pippa is such a fantastic character and is really easy to connect to. Passed the book on to a friend who loved it !
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ax on 19 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I have really been bowled over by the style in which 'Eleven' has been written. It seems a very different and unorthodox way to structure a story but it seems to work (and I'll be honest, the style was a little off-putting after a few chapters).

The main character Xavier is very hard to connect with at the start but as the story progresses into the chain of events, it becomes a book that you just simply cannot put down! I very much started to enthuse with Xavier's character and the more that started to unravel about his past the more I decided to enjoy the story and Xavier's "ways".

I first started reading this book last year and because I thought the story line was going nowhere in particular I became largely dissapointed and stopped reading it a quarter of the way through. But having had a day off from work today, I decided to give it another go and my opinion has completely changed having finished it over the past few hours!

Overall it's got quite a dark theme and punchy storyline and with the witty humour incorporated within the book in small doses, it becomes a real treat and find for any reader.

4 stars, well deserved!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By davidT on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This reminded me a little of Hunters and Gatherers (Geoff Nicholson), which also plays on the theme of disparate people bumping into each other, though in a slightly more surreal way.
In Eleven, the whole narrative stems from a single action not performed - or rather partially performed. Xavier Ireland, a promising London-based Australian DJ on the graveyard midnight-4am shift destined for greater things - intervenes when a boy is being bullied, but backs out when the odds seem stacked against him.
The boy's mother feels she has been too distracted by her job as a journalist to carry out her role as a mother, and her frustration causes her to write a vitriolic review of a restaurant. This is in turn means the drunken restaurant owner lashes out and sacks a kitchen worker, a fat boy who then has to find another, disastrously misjudged, way to get the money for his gym membership...and so on and so on.
Eventually, via a suicidal maths teacher, a formerly promising discus thrower forced by arthritis to give up and support herself and her sister by taking cleaning jobs, a frustrated estate agent and a psychotherapist, everything comes full circle and rebounds back on Xavier.
None of the characters is simple; all have features that evoke some sympathy, and each has a back story - the homeless mother downstairs from Xavier, the office worker upstairs who isn't quite the battered woman Xavier imagines.
Even people who appear briefly, like the fellow expat Gemma with whom Xavier shares a one night stand, are not just dismissed, but given an after-story which in her case takes her in a few sentences back to Australia, marriage, retirement and eventual death. Almost an obsessive tying up of loose ends.
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