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301 Reviews
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the middle of reading...
I have been ambushed by The Perpetual Astonishment. It was lying around our house waiting for my husband to read it, and I was in that unnerving state of being 'between books' so I picked it up, loved the cover, started reading and have since resented any interruptions like sleep or work or children complaining of being hungry. In fact I'm enjoying it so much I'm leaving...
Published on 11 Jun 2012 by Fanny Johnstone

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Not funny, just exasperating
I read as far as chapter 10 and gave up. It's rare for me not to finish a book, but I didn't want to waste another minute of my life reading it. I love humorous books, and laughed until I cried at, for instance, Melissa Kite's "Real Life" (even more so on the second reading), but the first 9 chapters off this didn't even raise a smile. Humour is a very personal...
Published 12 days ago by dandelion


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the middle of reading..., 11 Jun 2012
I have been ambushed by The Perpetual Astonishment. It was lying around our house waiting for my husband to read it, and I was in that unnerving state of being 'between books' so I picked it up, loved the cover, started reading and have since resented any interruptions like sleep or work or children complaining of being hungry. In fact I'm enjoying it so much I'm leaving work an hour early just so that I can read it in bed.

It is very funny, well written, charming, intelligent and although it could, if it wanted to, swagger about being blatantly cool it has chosen to do it in a modest unassuming way (which, of course, is way cooler).

If you need cheering up or just need entertaining then I recommend it 100%. And no, I don't know the author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book well up in my top 50 books ever read, 13 Dec 2013
By 
John Maddock "Terry Maddock" (Blackpool, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
As so often happens, I chose this book by mistake - but waddamistakatamaka. It's well written, includes some innovative approaches (it opens with the hum drum thoughts of a newly murdered person!!) and is somehow believable. Get it, read it, be sorry when it's finished.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A witty novel that reminds us all to be a bit more astonished, 25 May 2012
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
Christopher Shevlin can really write. This novel is packed with elegant, funny turns of phrase, slantwise ways of looking at the world, which actually make sense and are genuinely amusing, plus a set of charming and bizarre characters and a really entertaining and satisfying plot. Definitely worth a read.

This is Shevlin's first published novel (I think - I haven't seen any more - maybe there are hundreds!). It's an absolute joy to see a new, self-assured, funny,light-hearted comedy voice emerge through this book.

The author pretty much invites us to compare the book with Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently books. That's a brave thing to do, considering Douglas Adams is one of our great comedy stylists. Gulp. But this actually stacks up creditably against Adams' work - and is not dissimilar. It's witty, erudite, and long on well-described set pieces where things happen... quite slowly... but are described in very interesting ways. The down sides are that the plot sometimes plays second fiddle to the author's love of wordsmithing; and the narrative voice is so distinctive that it can overwhelm the different characters.

But Shevlin doesn't need to lose any sleep because these are criticisms which could fairly also be levelled at Douglas Adams too - so he's in august company. When it comes to the plot of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detetctive Agency, Douglas Adams himself freely admitted he didn't understand what the hell was going on for most of it.

It's worth saying this is not a Douglas Adams pastiche; Shevlin is still emerging from the Douglasian shadows, (as are many writers!) but is very much his own man. It's particularly pleasing the way humorous asides are included but not clunkingly pointed out. (Like the many different government departments and projects which are mentioned in passing and all have inappropriate acronym-names). As a reader I felt gently smug and discerning, which is always a good feeling to have when reading comedy, I find.

So what's it about and why would you read it? Well basically there's this chap called Jonathan Fairfax who bumbles his way through all sorts of murder mystery shenanigans, with a bit of political thriller thrown in. He's hamstrung by his own donnish analysis of his own emotions. He's the kind of guy who doesn't know what expression to pull when he's feeling sincere, because he has to work out what sincerely expressing an emotion would look like.

Shevlin is at his best when we are in the inner world of this character. His set-pieces on talking to the opposite sex, or when Fairfax has concussion, are very funny. The nice thing about this book is the way we feel for Jonathon Fairfax, because he's got such basic goodwill, even when he's a bit confused.

The word astonishment is, I suspect, carefully chosen. An astonished character is so much lovelier than a wryly amused, supercilious or self-important one.

This book is, in a way, a manifesto for us all to recapture our childlike state of astonishment with the world - which we might have lost as we wrestle with the hurly burly of life. Which is good. It comes from a happy place and made me laugh. I liked it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a cracking read!, 1 July 2012
By 
John Lenahan "John Lenahan" (London) - See all my reviews
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What a cracking read! I just spent my holiday with my nose in, The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax. It was funny with compelling characters and a plot that astonishingly turned into a page turner. The only down side was the annoyed looks I received from people in nearby beach chairs as I guffawed aloud. Five stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 30 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
Really enjoyed this one, great characters, funny and quirky. Would recommend this book to everybody. Can't see how anyone would not find something to like and laugh at.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny, 9 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
Really funny and pacy. Some of the writing is reminiscent of P G Wodehouse. Very witty and accurate descriptions of London mixed with complete fantasy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely read more by Christopher Shevlin. It's funny and fast paced, very well written and I couldn't put it down. The characters are all marvellous and likeable- even the bad guys! Loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Great concept, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant. Great concept, written with huge insight and compassion. Beautifully crafted writing. Funny with pathos and believable, engaging characters. The "twists" were predictable but satisfyingly laid out. Loved the fact that the 'baddy' was not demonised and in fact presented as a three dimensional figure. Dialogue was witty, snappy and real, adding to the depth of the story and used well as a device to take the reader through the narrative. Want to read more about Jonathon Fairfax's exploits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, 24 May 2014
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A great read so funny and witty interwoven storyline line , cracking characters had me laughing page to page and plenty of intrigue through out
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read with Acceptance of Quirk, 19 May 2014
By 
Sue Ryan "Sue" (Newcastle upon Tyne) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (Kindle Edition)
It seemed that every Amazon 'recommended for you' had the title of this book in it somewhere. After a good length of time, I finally succumbed and bought it onto my Kindle. After even more time spent trying to ignore it, I started to read it, stuck with it, though slightly puzzled and, finally, stayed in bed this morning to finish it. It is a strangely enjoyable book, well written and full of big personalities. I can only liken it to watching both series of TV's the 'Blandings', one after the other, but with no pictures. It involves a socially inept young man who through no skills of his own (except naivity) gets 'adopted' by two others. These two, in turn, involve him with a ghost, a murderer, a private eye and the Government of the United Kingdom. Other reviewers write of laughing out loud and guffawing - it didn't cause such outpourings of mirth from me, but has left me with a half-smile on my face and a feeling of gentle enjoyment. Christopher Shelvin asks that I express this enjoyment and interest in the possible appearance of his next book and I rather think I will. I would recommend you read it and suggest that by doing so, you may be in on the beginning of a 'cult'.
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