Sketcher Paperback – 23 May 2013
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'Well, hats off to Alma Books, because they've come up with a novel for teenagers which is so surprising, so defiantly odd and so linguistically quirky, it goes against every trend.' --The Tablet
About the Author
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Roland Watson-Grant, a former teacher of English, studied Literature at the University of the West Indies. He now works in advertising as Creative Director. Sketcher is his first novel.
Top customer reviews
Positively dripping in atmosphere, this proves a weird and wonderful read. The area seems to possess a personality of its own - full of sink holes, bubblings, noxious fumes, superstitions and magic. Bizarre neighbours have no shortage of colourful tales, Skid's attempts to sleep afterwards understandably troubled. Can his mother really be a witch? What of brother Frico (the sketcher of the title) - can his drawings truly cause things to happen? Amusingly Skid tries to become his agent, eyes on a nice little earner, constantly to be frustrated Frico does not make the most of his skills. Can it be, though, Frico has a major surprise in store...?
Skid tells it as it is, as he progresses from little boy to mid-teen. All the way through there is much to amuse, to excite and to disturb. Readers share his hopes, dreams, disappointments, not to mention shocks that prove extremely moving.
A great novel that beguiles, it constantly enriched by Skid's choice turns of phrase. Example? A glorious sunset causes him "to wonder why God spent so much time decoratin' a day that was dyin'."
The cover rightly salutes a "stunning debut".
The narrator, Skid Beaumont, is nine and through his telling of the story I became quite attached to him. His family and friends too, but mostly Skid. He could seem wordly wise beyond his years one moment and the next I would be reminded of just how little he was.
It's an adventure and a family drama. It's a mystery and at times a comedy... Mostly it's a coming of age story and it's all told with the guileless wonder of a young child.
Told through the eyes of nine year old Skid Beaumont, the narration is naturally a little unreliable due to Skid's limited, inexperienced and immature viewpoint. However, this only serves to enamour the reader, throughout the journey we are taken on while Skid tries to 'figure things out'. Sometimes, he made me laugh through his snippets of old soul wisdom, 'Well, the first thing I should have learnt by the time I was fourteen is never tell a woman not to worry. See, they're not tellin' you their feelin's so that you can bust open your shirt and show your costume and swoop down and save them. Naw, women don't necessarily need you to reassure them or fix nothin'. They're just workin' things out for themselves - or, better yet, they prob'ly got it all figured out by the time they're talkin' to you. You're just the sounding board for the solution they came up with.'
This is more than just your typical coming of age type of story though, because certain members of the Beaumont family seem to have a slightly quirky talent. Having convinced himself that his mother and younger brother have magic powers, as his family life becomes complicated and begins to unravel, Skid sets himself on a mission to harness their power to change all of their lives. Lovely read for a lazy summer's afternoon.
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