- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Legend Press (1 Mar. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908248289
- ISBN-13: 978-1908248282
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,764,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Almost Lizard Paperback – 1 Mar 2013
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'A superb tragicomic satire on our soap-opera-saturated culture' -- Sam Mills, author of The Quiddity of Will Self
'a neat idea... a plot full of death and disaster' --The Metro
'Like Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar or Iain Bank's in The Crow Road the story begins with intimations of death, and although the reader always knows the outcome to this story, the journey there is worth taking... The novel goes along at quite a pace, with all of the confidence, and some of the self-doubt that inflicts every teenager. James Higgerson is a talented writer, with a bright future ahead of him, and will be a name to look out for.' --Newbooks Magazine
'As openers go, the first page of Manchester author James Higgerson's debut novel The Almost Lizard is a real attention-grabber... What follows is a voyage through mental illness in a TV and media-obsessed society.' --The Manchester Evening News
About the Author
James Higgerson is a former music reviewer and has contributed to the anthologies Litmus: Short Stories From Modern Science and Still.
Top customer reviews
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This creates both a srength and a weakness in the narrative; the disturbing parts are made more so because they feel real, yet in places the book shys away from what's happening. For example, Danny doesn't really go into detail about his sexual exploits, going so far as to film himself faking sex but keeping his boxers on because he 'isn't THAT curious'. I could understand if it was just talked around, the literary equivalent of a cutaway, but Danny will openly say, 'I won't go into detail but..' But he goes into detail about absolutely everything else; it feels disingenuous that a character who sets out to write a suicide note about his life manipulating everyone around him for the sake of a fictional TV show, would shy away from sex. Thinking about it, I suppose there's an argument to be made that the very shows he emulates reference sex but never show it, but since Danny is speaking to us from outside his own device, (by which I mean he's not treating the reader as a last interview or part of the show; he's acting completely outside of that frame), it feels like this sets up a safety barrier in a story where safety should be a foreign concept.
Also, a word on the formatting; the Kindle iPad version doesn't have page numbers, using location numbers instead. Considering this book is a kind of list of events, (for example his parents lives are laid out in painstaking detail from their births, to their meeting, to Danny's own birth, etc.), it's frustrating to feel like you aren't getting anywhere because the main character hasn't arrived yet, and you can't tell how far through you are. The location numbers really don't help much. If that kind of thing is likely to bother you, go for the print version instead.
My only criticism is that it's about 100 pages too long. There are just too many sections where too little happens. If a page doesn't move the plot forward, contain an interesting idea or move you in some way through how it's written, then it shouldn't be there. And there's quite a lot of filler in here. I'd still highly recommend it though.
Our protagonist is a kind of machiavellian anti-hero, you don't end up liking him or really sympathising with him - but nevertheless you find yourself drawn to understand him and reflect on your own internal dialogue and what it might mean if that was exposed to your nearest and dearest.
I like that the book doesn't flinch from the unlikeability of Danny Lizar, whilst allowing you to recognise that all has not been precisely fair on him at the same time.
If you like the way Kurt Vonnegut makes you ponder your life, views and relationships without making his characters fill the corners you should try this book.
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