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The International Gooseberry [Paperback]

Ben Hatch
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2001
He wants to find himself. They want to lose him. From Ben Hatch, the best-selling author of The Lawnmower Celebrity, a novel about travel and feeling green. Kerouac said that life is a dream. But International Gooseberry Kit Farley's life is definitely turning into a nightmare, as he drives across the States with his supposed 'best mate' Carlos and his neurotic, penny-pinching, Prozac-popping girlfriend, Dominique. Kit wants to explore the dusty highways, meet and sleep with beautiful women of all nations and discover that there's more to America than Arby's; Carlos and Dominique are determined to argue the merit of every dollar spent and go to bed early to read. In their tent. On the cheapest campsite they can find. Anyone who's been travelling, or thought about getting away from it all, will be laughing out loud one minute and wincing with horrified recognition the next . . .

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (1 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752843850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752843858
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Kit Farley, at the centre of Ben Hatch's The International Gooseberry, has turned drifting into an Olympic sport. After an unsatisfying career as TV reviewer for the Bucks Chronicle, he walks away from the mouldy remains of his friendships and his love affairs and hits the road. Playing the reluctant gooseberry to Carlos--a best mate becoming less matey by the minute--and Carlos's emotionally unstable girlfriend Dominique, Kit embarks upon a back-packing odyssey whose only limits are dwindling funds and the need to get back in time for his Dad's wedding. Stranded in a hinterland of flop-houses populated by drawling surf-bums, pursued by e-mails from his worried family, Kit finally realises that the only thing he's running away from is himself.

One of the great things about travel is that you can never truly predict where you're going to end up. The same could be said of this outstanding work by Ben Hatch. It has all the trappings of a laddish coming-of-age yarn--replete with its pointless jobs, nightmare flat-shares, difficult girlfriends and uneasy nihilism. But what upgrades this novel into the First Class lounge is its sharply truthful treatment of relationships. The close bond between Kit and his brother Danny, ruptured by an event of heart-rending sadness, is the true driving force of the novel--a rich seam of emotional honesty underpinning its most comic moments. This is men's writing at its finest--an On the Road minus the drugs and with an admirable degree of heart. --Matthew Baylis


Ben Hatch is not just resurrecting the comic novel, he's reinventing it -- and he is going to be huge -- Lisa Jewell

Hatch approaches the themes of loss and reconciliation with fierce intelligence and heartfelt authenticity -- The Guardian (on The Lawnmower Celebrity), 9th September 2000

Hatch's anecdotes are colourful, hysterical and surprisingly sad. An unbeatable ride . . . -- Daily Express, 3rd November 2001

Humorous, heart-warming and brilliant -- Jenny Colgan

I laughed my head off, then cried my eyes out -- The Mirror (on The Lawnmower Celebrity), 28th July 2000

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Difficult Second Novel ... 12 Nov 2002
I started reading The International Gooseberry (TIG for short) as a last resort. After ploughing through a rather trashy novel by John Grisham, I was running out of the house and had grabbed the nearest novel from my book shelf. I had bought TIG for a measly 1 at a recent book sale because I liked the cover and the price. I was in a rush at it was the first book to hand, so it was with great intrigue I started the first Chapter on my daily Pinner to London Bridge tube journey.
First impressions were very good. A quick flick through the book (you know what I mean - gauge the number of pages, the font size, etc.) and I realised the book was written in diary format. I hadn't read a diarised novel since my spate of Adrian Mole novels all those years ago.
TIG tells the story of Kit Farley, a late twenty something, who has managed to go travelling, despite his better intentions, with his best friend Carlos and Carlos's girlfriend Dominique. Kit has decided to keep a diary of his adventure across the US of A through to their interim destination of Australia. The book itself is in fact two story lines told through journal and diary entries and the occasional email transcript (ever popular these days). We soon learn that Kit is the eponymous gooseberry named in the title of the book, as he feels trapped on his travels between the two love birds. As Kit travels he starts to narrate the story of why he has ended up travelling in America. This takes the form of a sequence of journal entries that expand upon Kit's life and introduce his brother, Danny, who may well be an International gooseberry himself. As the threesome travel towards Los Angeles past emotions and situations influence the present.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny. 13 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This is a superb book, funny throughout. It's also got a memorable story too, rare in comedy novels I find. If you like Dave Eggers without the pomp and John O'Farrell without the trying-to-hard undertone this is a book I recommend. Great dialogue, a great first person narration that keeps you gripped and it's also got a travelling theme I loved having always loathed backpackers with their friendship bracelets. I laughed out loud several times and I rarely do this because it makes me feel foolish and a sap. Overall splendid.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More tragi-comic excellence from Mr Hatch 5 Nov 2001
If you loved the Lawnmower Celebrity- like most people- you'll love this. Alternatively extremely funny and heartbreakingly sad, there aren't many people around writing as powerfully as this. Hugely enjoyable for men and women alike, recommended for anyone who's ever gone away to find themselves and been slightly disappointed...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bridging the 8 year gap 8 May 2012
I've noticed that it's been 8 years since the last review so i thought I'd get things moving again - moving being the operative word; along with funny, frank and infectious - my words to describe TIG!
I've also read Ben's books in reverse - through Twitter, I learned of 'Are we nearly there yet' and read that in a matter of days on my new Kindle. Superb. I've just finished TIG and enjoyed it immensely, especially as it brought back memories of a road trip I embarked upon with my fiance across the States in 1992. Ben's portrayal of life on the US roads is spot on, and although I would have like a little more description of the places, I had to remind myself it wasn't a travelogue but a masterful piece of writing that spans many topics and genres. Ironically I have recently read 'On the Road' but was able to read TIG through modern eyes. So which one now? The 'Lawnmower Celebrity' of course!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read 11 Feb 2005
A very easy, but intelligent read. Funny as well. It's about travelling round the world yet also about family dynamics and being the odd one out. I loved the relationship between the two brothers. It's worth it for that alone. Did put me off backpacking though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Just the best book to have under your arm when you walk into that Sydney backpackers thinking you know it all. First rate characters that are realistic and funny without being hyperboles, spot on dialogue and a great story too. Past several hours reading this one on a boat in the Whitsundays howling like a sick monkey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining! 16 July 2004
By A Customer
a great read, you can't but help being drawn into the characters lives and the reality is that anyone of them could be one of your mates.
Oh yeah, the books also bloody funny and only lacks a central character thats cool, pulls all the girls, is a bit of a poseur and is highly talented & succesful....only joking, that's me!
Dunno what why that bloke from London didn't like it- he must be an accountant.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marvellous stuff, a cracking read 13 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Funny. Funny. Funny. A wonderful book full of so much that made me laugh and a lot that made me think too. Hatch has a rare ability to write great novels that are also hilarious. Lawnmower Celebrity was the funniest book I read last year and International Gooseberry gets my vote for this year. Anybody who wants a laugh pick either one up and just start reading. I promise you won't be wasting your time.
One thing I have noticed: The main charcacter in Hatch's books is always a complete dude.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs a read!
I picked up this book as a quick holiday read when desperate in Wales. How much I would like it completely surprised me. Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2005 by "celebramiel"
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reads
A funny but also moving story told in easy to read journal entries about a messed guy, Kit, going travelling with his best friend and his best friend's French girlfriend. Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2005 by Daniel William Bloom
2.0 out of 5 stars disappionting
I found this book tremendously disappointing, not least because it had started so well, with some great witty observations and Hatch's writing style had me hooked from the word go. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2004 by dranahan3
1.0 out of 5 stars The International Gooseberry
Simply the worst book i have ever read. So bad, it was offensive. The main character is some spoilt brat (despite being in his late 20's) who needs a reality check. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2004 by philip mclean
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Excellent
I read this book more than a year ago and loved it, although I deliberately waited all this time before reviewing it. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2004 by S. Garner
5.0 out of 5 stars Glued to the book to the end
The story is based around Kit's trip through America and further fields. The book is written in two parts. Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2004 by A. Nicholls
4.0 out of 5 stars This is better!!
After being very dispointed with "The lawnmower celebrity" i was looking forward to reading this and hoped it would be better - and it definately was. Read more
Published on 4 Nov 2003 by "rossacleary"
5.0 out of 5 stars The International Gooseberry
This book reminded me of all the words and phrases that my sister and I used when when were little (I might even start using some of them again)! Read more
Published on 24 April 2003 by "lorna_chandler"
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