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In the Rooms

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A brilliantly funny debut novel about getting clean and coming clean...

About the Author

Tom Shone was both deputy literary editor and film critic of the Sunday Times, before becoming a writer at Talk magazine. He is the author of Blockbuster- How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer (Simon & Schuster). In the Rooms is his first novel. He lives in New York.


In a sharp, funny, and ultimately touching debut novel from a British film critic and journalist, Patrick Miller, a literary agent transplanted from London to New York, sees the opportunity of a lifetime when he spots his novelist hero, the reclusive Douglas Kelsey, on the street. He follows Kelsey into what turns out to be an AA meeting. Despite not being an alcoholic himself, Miller begins attending meetings to befriend Kelsey, with the hope of getting him to publish again, with Miller as his agent. Shone's depiction of AA meetings and their attendees is darkly humorous. His gradual revelations about Miller's real character are what keep the book humming along until a surprising and satisfying ending. Along the way, Shone also introduces us to Felix the eccentric and Lola the love interest, both strong supporting characters. VERDICT Recommended for readers of Nick Hornby and Joshua Ferris.-Amy Watts, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

A flailing London literary agent relocates to New York and delves into the wilds of business and unlikely recovery in Shone's wry debut novel (after the pop film history Blockbuster). With his romantic life shelved and his work increasingly shaky, Patrick Miller has a chance close encounter with his faded literary hero, Douglas Kelsey, and impulsively follows him into what turns out to be an AA meeting. Patrick protests he doesn't belong at these meetings, more pointedly when he's greeted with unfamiliar generosity of spirit by a lively assortment of recovering alcoholics, but he keeps showing up in an effort to secure the rights to Douglas's long-delayed novel. Patrick's bafflement at recovery jargon is laced with rueful observations ("You were alcoholic just by virtue of being British, of course"), and as Patrick's quest for a literary coup deepens into friendship with the brusque but funny novelist, so does his relationship with Lola, a slightly too wise, slightly too perfect young woman. Shone's comic tone keeps a happier than expected ending free of mawkishness and offers some guarded optimism and self-acceptance, notions that work their way into Patrick's character with a hard-earned grace. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"...entirely readable, amusing in parts and well written" * Daily Mail * "It is rare for an author to exhibit such bravery" * The Independent on Sunday * "[a] cutting comic debut novel" * Sunday Times * "Laugh-out-loud funny" -- Toby Young

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