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Rumours of a Hurricane (Om) [Paperback]

Tim Lott
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jan 2003
1991, London. A street drunk is rushed into casualty, the victim of a horrific traffic accident. He carries a social security card, a digital watch, and a torn and yellowed newspaper cutting - an obituary. But his relatives cannot be traced. How did he end up here? To answer that we need to go back to 1979, a time before the Big Bang, before Margaret Thatcher came to power, before greed became good, before the hurricane.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (30 Jan 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0141012056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141012056
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,379,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The death of homeless man Charlie Buck is unremarkable to everyone except the few passers-by who witness his drunken--and apparently voluntary--fall beneath a speeding lorry. No loved ones or friends attend his last breaths in hospital--his possessions amount to a National Insurance card, a digital watch and a newspaper obituary for a dead composer. But Charlie was a person. He had a wife and a son, his own set of dreams and personal demons, a biography no more and no less studded with dramas, defeats and victories than anyone else’s.

This is the mission of Rumours of a Hurricane, Tim Lott’s second novel: to chart the life of a single man, revealing it to be remarkable in its ordinariness and epic within its narrow confines. The backdrop to Charlie’s tragic saga is the relentlessly changing Britain of the 1980s, a nation twisted by greed and discontent. History weaves gracefully in and out of the tale, its hero riding high as he buys his own council flat and invests in the stock market; laid low as the great storms and the recession hit his home and his business. But Lott’s grasp of the recent past is by no means his most impressive talent--what dazzles on every page is his powerful grasp of the human soul and his ability to turn harsh truths into some truly fascinating fiction. Like Lott’s first novel White City Blue, this is an uncompromising book, one whose messages we ignore at our peril. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Tim Lott's Rumours of a Hurricane is the tender, disquieting autopsy of an unsophisticated and commonplace marriage. What a risky subject! But, also what a touching, honest and courageous book!" -- Jim Crace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 7 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This book is a beautifully written account of very ordinary people, going through their lives in the midst of what was always known in my house as 'The Thatcher Terror'. I'd never read any of Tim Lott's novels before, and I was genuinely surprised at the skill and sensitivity with which he painted his characters. Journalists aren't exactly known for their subtlety and sensitivity...
It's a terribly moving, but also terribly angry story, which only served to remind me of just how destructive and turbulent a time the 80s really were for hundreds of thousands of people in this country. Thatcher's presence - and Lott's own politics - are felt, albeit subtly, throughout the novel, without detracting from the plot in any noticeable way. I haven't enjoyed a novel this much for a very long time, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Oh, and don't be put off (as I almost was) by the fact that the cover carries a glowing recommendation from that scourge of society Tony Parsons. You'll regret it if you do.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bitter sweet 12 Jun 2003
By janice
The title and book cover don't do justice to what is inside. Nor do some of Tim Lott's previous books - especially White City Blue which was very readable but nothing special.
Rumours of a Hurricane on the other hand, really deserves those over-used phrases 'painfuly funny' or 'bitter sweet'
There are moments of real pathos. The hero is both so likeable and yet so awful - it's beautifully balanced. He reminds me a little of Homer Simpson. Heroic in his selfishness and ignorence. It perfectly sums up the Eighties.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Lovejoy
This book engages immediately. I read it within twenty-fours hours as 'can't put-it-down' read. Being a young working mother in the nineteen eighties I was proably too busy to remember the era from a sociological point of view, but Tim brought it all back with amazing accuracy. Yes - we had a Goblin Teasmade! It was not just the anecdotal references that caught the imagination. His verdict on the boom-and-bust of the times was very accurately portrayed. I was so sorry to say goodbye to the characters. I have also enjoyed White City Blues in the past. Tim Lott is one of our best modern writers and there not a boring minute in Rumours of a Hurricane. Brilliant. Read it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping it real. 22 Feb 2002
By Me
Rumours of a Hurricane is a brave and compassionate book. We enter the world of Charlie and Maureen Buck, unusual "heroes", deep into middle age as Margaret Thatcher is elected PM for the first time. Lott traces the ups and downs of this period by dealing with the personal. We live with them through their ordered, structured world and watch it come apart. And all this is through little fault of theirs. Their lives are so ordinary, the book could be said to be dull (for a good portion of its pages anyway). But that would be misleading, because through its ordinariness it becomes powerful; having a greater impact upon the reader than railing against the easy target of the then leader. Lott never directly attacks Thatcher or anyone else, and the book is better for it. No easy answers are here.
The book does have a couple of weaknesses; a couple of the minor characters are clichés. Particularly, the Cambridge educated liberal. The other gripe is minor, and would harm readers' pleasure if revealed. But this is a vast improvement on Lott's earlier novel White City Blue. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Thatcher years 6 Jun 2009
This book was difficult to read initially, as it was a bit heavy handed reminding you of the era it was written in - Thatcher years - by using loads of lists, like tv programmes, drinks in the off-licence, records in the charts etc and you felt like yelling - ok, I get it! However, it was an interesting, if depressing, story of a man working in a doomed industry, with fast-becoming out of date views and beliefs, being left behind by a newly arrived acquisitive, profit-hungry society. His relationships fall apart as everyone around him changes, and he is eventually extinguished, like a dinosaur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 25 April 2002
By A Customer
Completely unexpected after the [excellent] White City Blue, but all the better for being different. The genius in this book is the nagging inevitability of the impending ending that the reader is made aware of in the first few pages. And the ending really is emotionally crushing.
This would make a great, if rather bleak, film.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Nobody loved "The Scent of Dried Roses" and "White City Blue" more than me, so I was eager to read "Rumours of a Hurricane". Ultimately, it was very satisfying, but I am not sure it touches the heights of "Dried Roses".
As you would expect, the razor sharp observations about ordinary life are all there, but, if anything, the first half of the book, set at the start of the Thatcher years, is overstocked with them: the exact list of spirits in the off licence, the bus route home into Fulham. But then, Lott is so brilliant at this that it is hard to quibble. For example, there is one fantastic description of a meal served up for Charlie Buck by his wife, from a recipe in the TV Times: lumberjack pie, with cheddar cheese, Spam, baked beans and instant potato, all for 72p, which really brings home quite how anaesthetised a lot of basic life was circa 1980.
Then as Thatcher's Britain changes, and the Bucks become share holders and home owners, the glue of stability which somehow held their marriage together begins to unravel.
Lott brings great balance to the main couple: Maureen triumphant when she finds she can get away with minor corruption, and liberated in her new ways, and Charlie confused by the changes around him, and finding himself without wife or job, without having changed his behaviour at all.
His fall reminded me a bit of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", a totally different society, but the same male failure to adapt to change and to go beyond the ideals he established for himself when he was a child.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Book group choice
A rather strange and sad book. Supposed to be funny but ....... As usual the great and good of the world of reading thought it was wonderful.
Published 6 months ago by JudithTaylor
4.0 out of 5 stars A poignant story
Reading this in 2013 - I had a particular sense of deja vu. In the boom years of the 80s people and politicians found it impossible to believe that the economy would implode, but... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bronwen
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but anticlimatic
Nice to read for nostaglia's sake if one is of a certain generation. The problem with the book is the ending is known at the beginning. Or at the end of the beginning at most. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Summerfield
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lasting Impression
I was probably an oddity in the 80s as I didn't make any money but I certainly recognised everything else in this book as absolutely spot on, although at the beginning I felt as if... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Cwams mum
4.0 out of 5 stars Spot the welding joins
This novel follows the life and times of one Charlie Buck, a print compositor and Union man, like his father before him, who is about to have his existence unravelled by the... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing
Tim Lott is often grouped with Tony Parsons and (occasionally) Jonathan Coe as a purveyor of something called 'new lad lit'. Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2008 by Wakefield, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel I've read for ages
This is an excellent novel, with an interesting, believable storyline and exceptionally well observed characters. Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Need Lotta Lott!
Both this and Lott's White City Blue are absolutely superb. In a different life I could have read both in one sitting: bitter, funny, sarcastic, black, melancholy and... Read more
Published on 6 May 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Deja-vu but I didn't realise it at the time...
The first Tim Lott book not based on large parts of the authors life, this is 100x better than anything Nick Hornby could churn out. Worth reading.
Published on 7 Sep 2002 by DJ Bez
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