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The Brandy of the Damned

The Brandy of the Damned [Kindle Edition]

JMR Higgs
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Russell, Penny and Will have not seen each other for twenty years. Why, then, do they spend a month driving around the coast of Britain in a van refusing to listen to music? Why do they find little blue bottles washing up on the shore containing pages from a future Bible? And why is Penny carrying such a huge spade?

Funny, surprising and good-hearted, The Brandy of the Damned is a dream-like short novel which reveals different things each time it is read. It is the literary equivalent of stepping off the path and heading out into the woods, knowing that if you can’t see what’s ahead you will never be bored.

The Brandy of the Damned is a genuinely original story told by a unique voice. It exists in a genre of one.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 252 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Big Hand (24 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00865C2RK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,723 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

JMR Higgs is the author of The Brandy of the Damned and I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary. He also makes animation and has directed and produced over 100 episodes of pre-school British TV in the last five years, which allows him to spend his days thinking like a four-year-old. He was nominated for a BAFTA, once, but that was a long time ago. He blogs about stuff at, and about book apps at He was raised in Wales, which explains a lot, but can now usually be found in Brighton England, where he lives with @joannemallon and their two children. He likes drinking tea and not paying attention. His cat is massive. Seriously, it's a really big cat.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully unhinged cult-classic-to-be 27 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An increasingly mesmerising hybrid of engaging travelogue and unsettling genre elements, The Brandy Of The Damned defies categorisation. It sees three former members of a rock band head off on a tour-van journey around the coast of Britain, for reasons which escape them. We learn their motives as they do. Why's one of them carrying a shovel? Why's another of them so obsessed with bottles which wash up on the shore, containing pages from a future Bible? To say more about any of this stuff would be to spoiler, but TBOTD is sure to surprise and move you.

At one point towards the end, I felt like I'd been shown one of nature's great hidden secrets. Surely there can be no higher recommendation than that. Buy this book and become part of the early groundswell of recommendation which is sure to propel it from Kindle to Kindle to Kindle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I like this book. What's not to like? It's easy to read (I read it one sitting), cheap, entertaining, funny, moving, surprising and completely original. There is no other book quite like it. But what I like most about it is that, despite the fact that some unbelievable things happen within it, it has its own internal consistency and is somehow deeply satisfying.

It's a bit like a fairy story. In fairy stories magical events occur which exist outside the scope of normal reality. Trees have spirits. The venerable stranger grants wishes. The hero is lead into a mysterious and often threatening world where strange things happen.

The Brandy of the Damned has something of that quality. There are a series of magical events, in the form of little blue bottles which appear intermittently throughout the story, which contain chapters from a future bible. Various things occur which exist outside the scope of normal reality. But there is a light touch to all of this, and we never find our credulity strained.

Our three characters - all ex members of a band which broke up twenty years ago - are on a journey around the coastline of Britain. But, while the place names stay the same, you soon realise it is a mythical Britain we are travelling through, a Britain of the subconscious, and that the events are occurring on a magical or a symbolic level.

However, just like a fairy story, we find ourselves going along with the logic of this. It is not handled in a clumsy way. The plot twists are frequent enough and surprising enough to make us want to keep on reading, and the characters are real enough for us to believe in them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small British classic 13 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
What a little beauty this is. Right from the start the idea feels fresh and exciting, with the members of a once-famous band getting together for a road trip in which they plan to drive around the entire coast of Britain, just to make sure it's definitely an island and that cartographers haven't been lying to them.

The three friends - Will, Russ and Penny - take turns telling their stories as they progress around the coast, experiencing a mix of regret and nostalgia while their journey becomes increasingly surreal. Will keeps finding bottles floating at sea, each containing a page of an alternative and very sarcastic Bible. Penny carries a spade with her at all times and won't tell anyone why. Russ worries that he might have broken the boundaries between fiction and reality.

Higgs is plugged right into the British psyche throughout, with nods to Pratchett & Gaiman's Good Omens and Banks's Espedair Street, and has the good sense to make sure that such a psychadelic road trip stops off in Portmerion, home to that mind-boggling TV show The Prisoner. With rich characters, properly funny jokes and intelligent observations on life, art and love, this is really a very special novella.

(original review on
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly original 4 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A delightfully skewed look at music, middle age and the landscape of the Great Britain. And utterly unlike anything else you may have previously read on any of those subjects.

What starts as a simple story of a simple quest, three faded musicians taking to the road one more time, gently evolves into a kind of meta-magical fugue full of unexpected, almost accidental, profundity. The remarkable feat of the book is that it travels through a landscape where just about anything might happen while never compromising the readers belief in the reality of the characters.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is thoroughly recommended 7 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is a beautifully observed trip around the UK by three reunited rock musicians. More metaphysical than John Donne, more cryptic than Howard Overman, it does for middle age what Gregory's Girl did for teen age.

Although "Brandy Of The Damned" appears to ask more questions than it answers, it is the very fact of understanding what the question was in the first place that makes this book such an utterly astonishing achievement. JMR Higgs has mastered the skill of getting into people's heads, straight to the crux of their thoughts.

The book veers from outrageously funny to painfully poignant. The story flows quickly and is written using a device (that I won't give away here) that makes it uniquely possible to empathise which each of the three central characters. And empathy is really what the point of this book is. Because with every page turn comes a deeper understanding of oneself... one that has come by looking at life from JMR Higgs' perspective. The plot is driven along by a series of mysterious events and situations, which helps make the book a page turner that the reader will want to devour as quickly as possible.

I thoroughly recommend this book.
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