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Broken Paperback – 3 Mar 2008
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About the Author ~ Daniel Clay
Daniel Clay is thirty seven years old and married with no children. He lives in Hampshire in the UK.
Exclusive Amazon.co.uk Interview with Daniel Clay
Part narrated by Skunk Cunningham, an eleven-year-old girl in a coma,
What inspired you to write it?
My starting point were the family structures in Harper Lees
Who are your literary influences?
As a teenager,
If you could recommend just one "must-read book" to anyone, what would it be and why?
What top tips do you have for anyone looking to write their first book?
Write for the thrill of it and write for yourself. Try to surprise yourself. Try to shock yourself. Never try to write something that doesnt excite you right from the outset. Never try to write what you think an editor or agent wants you to write. Think about how you can grab a readers attention and then not let them put your work down. Look at the writers who do this to you and compare their style to your style. Try to understand why theyre different. Try to do something about it. Read as widely as you can. Polish as hard as you can. And, most of all, have fun, enjoy yourself, challenge yourself, and never let the rejections stop you from writing.
Reviews for Broken. A Novel
We are not the only ones to love this book. Check out a selection of reviews below. As you can see a lot of the reviews have been written by our own Amazon customers. These are reviewers from our
Bold, prescient, engaging, and oddly touching. Guardian
A stunning first book Id be amazed if it doesn't get short-listed at awards time. Murray, Amazon Vine top reviewer
Daniel Clay has managed to weave a tale that simultaneously highlights some of the more disturbing aspects of contemporary British society whilst capturing some of the sweet innocence of a childs mind... gripping. H. Pierce, Amazon Vine top reviewer
Reminiscent of Angela's Ashes set in the present day there is humour and warmth, and a surprisingly upbeat, satisfying ending. I think this is probably the best new fiction I have read in the last year. P. M. Fernandez, Amazon Vine top reviewer
This book grabbed me and I could not put it down It will make you laugh, cry and gasp with horror. Kehs, Amazon Vine top reviewer
Beautifully written I couldn't put the book down. It contains humour and is incredibly touching. I will certainly be looking out for Daniel Clays next book. Recommended to all. SM, Amazon Vine top reviewer
‘Bold, prescient, engaging, and oddly touching’ Laura Wilson, Guardian
‘This is a novel whose plot and vivid, pared-down imagery bravely patrol the terrifying border at which the human blurs into the bestial and inanimate … Daniel Clay's debut novel is remarkably controlled and disciplined … Clay’s triumph is in exploring the kindness and love that might heal and restore – and what it is to feel fully alive.’ Anita Sethi, Independent
‘It’s funny and sad and moving … and ultimately very engaging.’ Francesca Segal, Observer
‘A moving, intriguing and at times funny debut novel’ Daily ExpressSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If there is a criticism, then I would say that this is one of those books you can't just dip into and out again and pick up where you left off. I did pick at it for the first twenty pages with some difficulty. Then (on a free and sunny day) put aside the time to read it all the way through from the beginning to the end. Then the crescendo of a plot was given free rein to grip my attention to the end. Make time in your life for this book.
I was interested in all the characters, even the Oswalds, who I was made to have sympathy for when I didn't really want to like them at all. Having ran a shop in a council estate for a couple of years I found the story very believable, which would be depressing if it wasn't for Daniel Clay's brilliant comedic portrayal of the authorities.
And that reminds me, this is a very funny book without even trying to be. To insert comedy into such a sad story clearly takes an amount of literary genius. I laughed out loud at a number of points.
If my husband could read I would tell him to read this. Since he can't, I'm really glad they're making a film adaption.
Looking forward to more from Daniel Clay.
This book is full of this kind of mistake - people believe what someone has said even though they have no proof - even in some cases when common sense suggests its opposite. Rick Buckley is only the first victim of the Oswald madness and his fate escalates into manic proportions of paranoia. Children are the chief victims, mostly of each other. The bullying factor at the local schools are off the graph. The bullying of teachers by a parent, however, is beyond belief. I'm not suggesting that it couldn't happen, but the level suggested here would surely be too blatant to survive. Some teachers might be vulnerable, but never a whole school.
But let's pretend that this school has all the failures of the worst sink schools in the country. Let's pretend that the local police are usually too tired and bored to do their job properly, that the social services are incapable of doing their jobs properly. Because it could happen - it could all happen. Children could be preyed upon by their peers or neglected to the point where the parent is not sure when one of his children was last seen. There are lots of hopeless people around who don't know how to bring up their children with some semblance of decency.Read more ›
I'd call this a modern-day 'To Kill A Mockingbird' - and I'm sure that Daniel Clay has based his story on Harper Lee's original novel. Set in a street in modern day Southampton and narrated by Skunk who is laying in a coma and lives with her brother Jed and lawyer single father Archie - the 'Broken' of the title is nineteen year old Rick Buckley who plunges into a spiral of madness after being falsely accused by one of the Oswald sisters. The Oswald family are brilliantly depicted - five tearaway girls with an oafish, beer swilling, dope smoking Father who lets them run riot but will defend them to the end.
As the Oswald family become more and more uncontrollable, the consequences of their actions spread throughout the whole street. The novel shows how one disfunctional family can affected a whole community. We watch Broken slowly descend deeper and deeper into madness - we see how this affects his Mother and Father and how the system sadly fails him. We watch the effect the Oswald girls have on the other youngsters in the area - some of the bullying scence are horrific and very violent, but so emotional, you can feel the fear.
Skunk is such a real and likeable heroine - at the start of the book she is laying in a coma and narrates her story from there. The story is told in a very real and intelligent way, yet so easy to read and be drawn in by. It is often painful to read as you see the inevitable happening, yet cant do anything to stop it but you have to read on. There are very touching moments and also some laugh out load funny moments.
Each character is perfectly formed and rounded.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is phenomenal, I have never been so pleased with myself for picking up a book and giving it a chance - it trumps nearly every book i have ever read and its one that I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Caitlin Mcf
Daniel Clay, ex-accountant, is angry about 21st-century Britain and even names one of the main characters ‘Broken’ to hammer home the point – in fact, all his characters are... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr R
Council estate of mind... Broken is a wayward shaggy dog story about life on a rundown close of an estate. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is difficult to categorise. It's certainly not feelgood fiction and I wouldn't recommend it as a holiday read and it's certainly not going to be everybody's cup of tea since... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Uncle Barbar
To write such a powerful first novel fills me with admiration. Is this an environment familiar to the author? If not it is all the more remarkable. Read morePublished on 7 April 2014 by sue the scribe