An excellent first novel deserving of a wide readership. Although firmly located in time and place, it delicately handles the universal themes of relationships between parents and child, of facing up to the truth of your past and to the death of a loved one. Eaves has succeeded where many writers fail in keeping control over his material, of knowing what to write and what not to write. Characters and atmosphere are vividly drawn and the author also demonstrates an ability to add in the comedy and farce of daily life. I will certainly read his next novel.
A tremendous debut novel, and far from being the story of callow lads coming to the end of their school days, it is about betrayal among lovers and wives and husbands. It is as much about his mother Jane and his father Philip as it is about Daniel and his realisation from a very early time that he is homosexual. Daniel's half-affectionate, half-irritated relationship with his mother is particularly well-portrayed.
Moving easily between school life, friendships, his parents' early relationship, his father's death and the present day, there is deep insight into the strengths and weaknesses of families and intelligent, witty, flowing prose that is wonderful to read. I've read this twice now and enjoyed it a second time just as much, if not more, than the first.
This is a writer who can give shape and form to even quite minor characters, so that the novel seems peopled by real, rounded individuals. Ending on a note of hope, the book made me feel I knew these people - I understood and cared about them. It was good, too, to learn that even genteel Bath has its seedy underside.
The Oversight was Will Eaves' first novel, an impressive fictional debut. Eaves has mastered the art of engaging character with descriptive and narrative zeal that carries the reader through from beginning to end. His plots are complex involving the awkward relationships between friends and families and the secrets and lies that living a life throws at them. You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family, one of life's worst ironies that most people have to endure regardless. Eaves gets to the heart of the matter and is clearly a novelist and social commentator of great distinction.
Will Eaves' first book avoids the usual pitfalls of the debut novelist of trying too hard. a funny and poignant coming of age story with a very real feel. Very interesting on the subject of father and son.
I bought this novel based on the strength of its reviews and the fact that it was shortlisted for the Whitbread first novel award in 2001. As I come from Bath I was also interested in the choice of setting for the early part of the novel.
Will Eaves writes well and the book is not without humour and interest; however the plot, such as it is, unfolds very slowly and quite frankly I got bored with it. Had it not been for the references to places and situations I recognised I think I would have given up on it earlier. I'm sorry to say this book did not hold my interest sufficiently for me to finish it. Life is too short and there are too many good books to be read!