Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No-one ever did, it's true...., 31 May 2014
This review is from: No-one Ever Grew Up Wanting To Be A Car Salesman (Paperback)
I've read a lot of books in my time, but I have to confess, I've never read anything quite like this. Yes, it is about car salesmen and I can't think of a single other volume with that as a theme. It is set in the Welsh valleys, in deprived, emptied, sad lands; places where no one has worked for a long time and where opportunities are scarce, and probably the best thing to do is just leave; places where people do indeed try to leave but somehow get pulled back to.

It is funny. Darkly comic and comically tragic, sometimes farcical, always strangely believable. It is insightful, modern, sexy, street wise, clever, almost (I hate this expression) post modern. It is constantly surprising and I was taken off guard numberless times. As an example, the book starts with the words "the end".

Pulling this off successfully demonstrates that the writer has both great talent and experience. There is a big cast of characters and a plot that takes no prisoners. Keep up or you will be lost. There is no pedestrian explanation of motivation or even of what exactly is happening. The author assumes that you are smart enough and sufficiently mature to figure out what's happening without it being spelt out. I found this remarkably flattering and engaging.

The main character is an anti hero named Balders; middle aged, hopeless, trying desperately to pay overdue rent to a demanding landlord, to fend off his two cousins, Ryan and Bryan, who also serve as the local bailiffs and to keep his job at Wheelers, the only car salesroom in town. Balders has a secret life, the details of which I will not divulge to prevent spoiling the read for you. Ranged around this central character, and his mischievous rescue mutt, is a group of heroes and villains, men and women whose attempts to thrive and survive in the inhospitable world they inhabit, makes up the drama of the book.

You are introduced to a wide cast of characters, all three dimensional, very human, convincingly and uncynically depicted by a writer who has clearly met with many of them. You will recognise them too.

The episodic, plot-led, visually almost slapstick nature of this book screams out to be made into a series for television. I cannot imagine why no one has yet thought to make a sitcom based in a car sales room. It is the perfect environment to introduce the wild and wonderful array of characters we meet here and to expose the humour and pathos of the lives they lead. If this does not end up made into a TV show or in a movie I should be very surprised as it is perfect for it. Meanwhile I do encourage you to read this life enhancing, highly enjoyable book.
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