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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 1 October 2014
If you have read Guy Bellamy before you know what you are getting and to start with won't be overly disappointed. Comic everymen caught in some unpredictable and compromising corners make for a promising mix. But then .... this novel broken down into month by month sequences, is just about over by May leaving it idling through the months to December with little narrative action or drive. Bluntly and simply it is half formed. A shame really because Bellamy can be a lot of fun - try Tax Eiles, The Sinner's Congregatiion, The Nudists etc while The Secret Lemonade Drinker should be published as a Penguin Modern Classic and put on the GCSE reading list..
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You always know what you're going to get with a Guy Bellamy novel. This is because the plots of his books are all completely identical: A middle class writer or aspiring poet, struggling with money and a failing marriage, becomes wealthy and enters into a more successful relationship . Meanwhile, his wealthy friend loses all his money but then makes it again.

This story is always told against one of two backgrounds: A dormitory village in the home counties filled with twee pubs, or a Spanish resort. Both will be coloured by Bellamy's oddly dated ideas about what constitutes an aspirational lifestyle: In this book, published in 2007, posh restaurants still serve sliced melon as a starter, and the homes of wealthy people are defined by their chandeliers and cocktail cabinets. Men wear cravats. However, scarcely anyone owns a mobile phone or computer, communicating via letter and payphone.

On the odd occasions when Bellamy does arise from this 1970s reverie and makes a token attempt to appear contemporary, he never gets the details right, obviously not bothering to research anything. Quite a lazy writer then, especially as well as the endlessly recycled plot, quite a few of the same jokes reappear time and again.

'A Year In Suburbia' however, is even for this writer, a supremely indolent piece of work. Written as a diary by the main protagonist, the elements of the Bellamy plot are pretty much wrapped up by May, and in the most banal way imaginable. The male characters are introduced as worried about money and unhappily married, then a couple of months later, by processes to dull to recount, they've become wealthy and happily married to someone else. There's no drama, hardly anything in the way of tension or conflict, and the last half of the book dribbles off into a sort of extended homage to Bellamy's idea of the good life: Roast beef for Sunday dinner, champagne in an ice bucket, cosy suburban pubs.
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on 18 January 2014
If you want a good fun quick read you can never beat a Guy Bellamy. Ive read all his books and every one makes me laugh out loud. He comes up with some fantastic plots - and some great schemes that you cannot imagine wont work! Love it.
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on 4 September 2013
I enjoyed the Nudists and The Man Who Won, but the more of Bellamy's books I read, the more repetitious they become. He is never satisfied to use a clever line in only one book! The plots too are similar - there's almost always an unhappy marriage which either ends or (as in The Nudists) resolved. There's usually at least one miscarriage. One of the characters is usually involved in books - writing or selling. And so it goes . . .
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on 23 March 2008
As usual once I had begun reading one of Guy Bellamy's books I could not put it down. I cannot wait for his next book. I had to wait too long for this one to come out.
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on 1 February 2013
I have read most of GuyBellamys books and this one has been waiting for,I just wish he had written more.I am reading some of his books for the third time.
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on 20 November 2014
Nice gentle comedy, reminiscent of Leslie Thomas, comfortable read
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