Saturday, February 03, 2007

Worth Seeking Out: Robert Chalmers

The offbeat Bristish author Robert Chalmers is a little off the beaten path, but worth seeking out. Think Nick Hornby with an edge, and a dash of the absurd.

In his 2002 debut novel "Who's Who in Hell", the Brit spun a tale of an obituarist putting together a compendium of the world's worst. It's an angsty novel, as the main character struggles to find his niche and grow up. In his latest, which actually came out in 2004 but I only read now, he writes another tale of one finding himself. "Fortune's Bastard" is actually a little hard to synposize, so here's the description from the book's dust jacket:

"One morning Edward Miller, tabloid newspaper editor and reactionary alpha male, spontaneously seduces his temp in an office storeroom. The news doesn't take long to reach his cold, beautiful wife-- and it just happens to be their anniversary. By morning, his marriage is over, his career in shambles, and his house is on fire. Clearly, it's time to leave town. After a brief stint in Spain as an English teacher, Miller flees again when his cover is blown, winding up in a Florida town populated by carnies and circus freaks and ruled with an iron fist by the Half Man, a criminal and sadist with no legs. Unexpectedly, despite even a one-eyed albino hit man who seems to overhear every compromising conversation between Miller and the Half Man's wife the Lizard Woman, Miller gradually realizes this may be where he belongs."
Weird, right? Hidden between the rolling narrative are some nice little moments. Here's one: Miller, drunk, being told that the car he finds himself in is not a cab, but driven by a regular joe that stopped at a red light and found someone getting in the back seat.

If you can, definitely seek out Chalmers and pray for more novels by the talented writer to come.

1 comment:

Scarlett said...

I'd like to say I also think Robert Chalmers is a great writer, off-beat, witty and so accurate at day-to-day observations.
I found this blog while looking for more info on Robert. I'm almost finished Who's Who In Hell and would love to read more by him.