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On the Holloway Road [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Blackman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Unmotivated and dormant, Jack is drawn into the rampant whirlwind of Neil Blake, who he meets one windy night on the Holloway Road. Inspired by Jack Kerouac's famous road novel, the two young men climb aboard Jack's Figaro and embark on a similar search for freedom and meaning in modern-day Britain. Pulled along in Neil's careering path, taking them from the pubs of London's Holloway Road to the fringes of the Outer Hebrides, Jack begins to ask questions of himself, his friend and what there is in life to grasp. Spiting speed cameras and CCTV, motorway riots and island detours, will their path lead to new meaning or ultimate destruction?

Product Description


'A beautifully written story about friendship and the longing for adventure in an increasingly demystified world, and the eternal question of what life is all about.' Zoe Jenny, best-selling Swiss author of The Pollen Room.

'Blackman's wonderful book is a modern-day road trip filled with quirky characters and locations. He writes beautifully, making the mundane extraordinary and the everyday fascinating.' --Deborah Wright, best-selling author

About the Author

Andrew recently moved back to the UK after spending six years in New York, where he worked as a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He has also written for newspapers and magazines across America, including Monthly Review, the Cincinnati Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Seattle Times and Tampa Tribune, and won the Daniel Singer essay prize. He has a Bachelor's degree in modern history from Oxford University and a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. Chosen from hundreds of entries Andrew Blackman was the first winner of the Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary, winning a publishing contract with Legend Press.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 295 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (19 Nov. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0037B6QMK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #301,130 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Andrew Blackman (1977-) is a former Wall Street Journal staff writer, now concentrating on fiction. His latest novel 'A Virtual Love' (Legend, 2013) explores themes of love and identity in the digital age. His debut novel 'On the Holloway Road' (Legend, 2009) won the Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize.

His short stories and essays have also won awards, including the $5,000 Daniel Singer Millennium Prize, and have been published in a variety of magazines and journals in the UK and US.

He was born and raised in London, and has also lived in New York and Barbados. He is currently living in Crete and working on a third novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great read 28 Sept. 2009
I really enjoyed this book.It is well written with a strong narrative.The story carries you along and the characters are really vivid and alive. At the same time it is packed with interesting ideas about frienship, the meaning of life and relationships.It made a nice change to read something that was enjoyable and also thought provoking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 22 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is perhaps best to start when commenting on this book with the end. It comes as a shock but somehow we feel as terribly inevitable after all that has happened with these two characters throughout their amazing road journey. In a way this ending makes the book, and at the end we feel deflated but we also ask ourselves could it have been any other way? Neil and Jack, so different in nature, are an odd couple and the book delineates the difference very well. Neil, at once dangerous and unstoppable and Jack, more deep-thinking and anxious, set out together to try and find themselves, penetrate the phrase 'meaning of life'. What they do find is interesting and believable but always taken on board quite differently by each character. Neil, a one time young offender, and Jack, a hopeful writer, see the world in completely different terms. Neil beds his women while Jack is much more reticent. But what both characters do find is love even if it is only in one another's unique friendship. A must-read book for anyone interested in a culture clash which results in deep feeling and an uncommon bond.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ostensibly, this is a novel about a road trip in a Nissan Figaro up the A1 by two friends who are an archetypal "odd couple." Jack, a lonely writer and Neil, an uncontainable force of nature, try to find some kind of meaning in their journey north from London but only encounter identikit towns, multiple speed cameras and cold weather. Featuring throughout the story is an audiobook of Kerouac's seminal "On the Road" which seems to mock their progress, starkly highlighting the inadequacy of the pair's own quest. There are many highlights in this work, most notably the sense of realisation on the part of Jack that despite his companion's insistence on living "free" and travelling being a worthwhile pursuit for its own sake, everything has been demystified and no experience can truly be said to change anything in a corporatised, ever closely watched Britain. The themes of constant surveillance and conformity are well explored whilst the character of Jack is a sympatehtic one, standing as he does for a generation of young people who have become hesitant and docile, while still yearning for adventure and excitement. If there is a problem here, it is in the fantastical and dubiously motivated Neil. The root of the friendship is weak at best; Blackman bases their relationship on a chance encounter in a Holloway kebab shop and the otherwise well grounded if timid Jack is too easily swept along by Neil. By the novel's end, one cannot help feeling that were Neil a real person, far from being in awe of his gift for language and his - at times - violently asserted will over others, one would probably want to run away from him as an example of the worst kind of stuck-in-the-past pseudo hippie. Nevertheless, there is a rich promise here and fans of contemporary new fiction should certainly keep a close eye on the name of Andrew Blackman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Debut! 13 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On The Holloway Road is a road trip novel set in the United Kingdom, but with obvious links to the Jack Kerouac American story. The main characters, Jack and Neil, are both searching for something: Jack, an aspiring writer, for what? Inspiration, acceptance........? Neil appears to be the opposite of Jack - loud, brash, and confident, in search of adventure. Both want to find some meaning to life and their trip, they hope, will provide the answer to all their questions.

There was so much reality in these two characters - although I could identify more with Jack - his insecurities, and lack of self worth ( me in my 20s ), I have also come across people like Neil. His wild, madcap ideas are very attractive and how easy it is to become caught up in them, as Jack is.

Andrew Blackman is an excellent writer and storyteller. This, his first novel, should not be missed - it is full of insight, great descriptions, thought provoking....all in all, an excellent read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 29 Jun. 2011
By Freckles VINE VOICE
This is a wonderful wonderful piece of writing. It is a rare teat to come upon an author who can capture the characters in his book and deliver them to his reader in such an honest and open way.

I came upon Andrew Blackman by chance when I read his great review on the recently published "Beside the Sea" by Veronique Olmi...another fabulous book. It was on the strength of that review and seeing his own novel on LibraryThing, that led me to order "On the Holloway Road" from my local library. Am I glad I did?

Not everyone is lucky enough to meet a character like Neil Blake who wants to live life to the full. Yes, he does so at the expense of others and is annoying in the extreme. Doesn't that make you in awe of him though? Isn't your life less complete without him?

It made me cry too and left me feeling totally bereft....just as it should have done.

A must read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Holloway Road 14 Jan. 2010
"On the Holloway Road" relates the story of a narrator, Jack, who having left a minor public school top of his class has fallen into a rut: unable to complete his Great Novel he lives with his mother in Crouch End, a chintzy yet dull suburb of London, occasionally driving around in search of adventure, friendship, inspiration - or perhaps just to escape the tedium of his life.
One evening he meets Neil in a kebab shop. Neil is everything the narrator is not: streetwise, funny, confident, and perhaps most of all a lover of life, the antithesis of Jack's existential angst-ridden personality.
Jack and Neil become friends, and set out on a road trip up the A1 and to Scotland. The novel relates their adventures and mishaps - confrontations with oil-riggers, being arrested during a fuel dispute on a motorway - and finally to Barra in the Hebrides, where we meet one of Neil's girlfriends, Nicola, with whom Jack briefly and chastely shares a bed. The novel has a twist at the end that I never saw coming, yet as soon as it happened was not only obvious, but probably inescapable.
Such then is the plot, but this is not a plot-based novel. Rather, it is an exercise in existentialism, a character study, a literate, literary novel that never under-estimates its reader. One of the things I like best about the novel is the way it describes the grimy streets I know so well in a lyrical, original style. I also like the way it alludes to Kerouac and plays with his most famous book, "On the Road", with Britain's backwaters poor substitutes for the great American canvas.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars An unsatisfying read
A problem for any writer attempting the road trip is that it has become something of a cliche. The trip is not about the destination, but about that which the protagonist discovers... Read more
Published 11 months ago by You caught me procrastinating again
4.0 out of 5 stars Review
An interesting rewrite of On The Road, set in modern day Britain. The author plays on the contrast between the open road of the 50s original, and the traffic-jammed, speed-camera... Read more
Published on 10 Aug. 2011 by J. Everington
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally unconvincing
I was really looking forward to reading this book, based on the reviews given here. But I simply can't understand how any intelligent person can like this book. Read more
Published on 25 July 2011 by Peter Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars A really excellent little book
This is an excellently written book. The character development is well considered and the very fine detail of the sensitivity and strength of both of the two main characters... Read more
Published on 7 Jan. 2010 by Helen P
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, a real page-turner
'On the Holloway Road' by Andrew Blackman, is an exceptional piece of writing. I found it absorbing and insightful;there are many memorable paragraphs which stay with you long... Read more
Published on 31 Mar. 2009 by Maria Savva
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting and compelling
As the previous reviewer says, a gripping read and it really does make you think about what we do everyday. Read more
Published on 8 Mar. 2009 by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking page-turner
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it's insights and anecdotes staying with me after the final page. It's a gripping read, you really want to know how it will turn out, and it makes... Read more
Published on 2 Mar. 2009 by K. Lawrence
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