Having been fortunate enough to get hold of an advance copy, I simply have to let Amazon's other customers know what a joy Ian Marchant's book is. Set in Brighton, this immensely entertaining debut novel tells the stories of a disparate group of badly behaved characters who share a huge house where they live life on the margins of society. As they go about their business, ekeing out a living and indulging in conspicuous hedonism, the book explores the ways in which different generations and different worlds interact and reflect upon each other. By turns witty, scurrilous and poignant, 'In Southern Waters' is hilarious throughout, employing a fresh and surprising range of literary tricks and techniques to draw us into its soul. Marchant is above all a humanist, who knows that everybody has their reasons, and shows generosity and compassion for the outsiders, the losers, the ugly and the dispossessed. His world is untidy but never squalid, neglected but never cold, misshapen but never grotesque. He sees to the heart of what matters in life and relationships and holds up a cracked mirror to all of us - and there is nothing in fiction more satisfying and more difficult than that. If there is a true heir to Nick Hornby's crown then Ian Marchant is definitely it.