Leonard and Hungry Paul: A Novel

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Leonard and Hungry Paul: A Novel

Leonard and Hungry Paul: A Novel

RRP: £99
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For my tastes, though, Toby Litt’s Patience, also published in 2019, is a far more engaging story about appreciating the ordinary things in life. They share the minutiae of their lives in the knowledge that the other will accept whatever has happened and move forward without assigning blame. Leonard and Hungry Paul are not portrayed as flawed or unreliable – on the contrary they have a clarity of understanding due to their clutter-free attitude to life. The central characters of the book are the two friends of the title, both of whom are quiet single men in their 30s.

In addition to being longlisted for several prizes, it was chosen for this year’s One Dublin One Book initiative, in which everyone is encouraged to try the same book, one with a strong connection to the city. It had taken someone with the special insight of Hungry Paul to realise the answer to the problem, strange though it seemed, was to get people to do nothing. The truth is that much of our ordinary lives and many family relations are made up of mundane details rather than high drama. Leonard and Hungry Paul charts the lives of two friends across a handful of weeks, two friends who have fallen into comfortable habits and routines with no desire to really change their happy lives.For me the difficulty in writing a this review is that the author so clearly wanted his novel to defy labels, describing it only as a story about gentle people trying to make their way in the world.

Bluemoose Books continue to hit their targets with unerring accuracy, and the book is soon to be published by Melville House in the US. The rarity of such truthfulness in conversation and the skill with which thoughts and feelings are conveyed make this a singular read. Kalıplar, etiketler, kurumların ötesinde düşünmek; hayata geç de olsa bir yerinden ve bir biçimde tutunmak, kendi kabuğumuzun içinde iyi hissetmenin yollarını bulmak üzerine pek zarif bir roman bu.

But it appeared on so many “Best of 2019” lists from both GR friends and journalists that I thought I had to give it a go. Yani gercekten ilk sıraya koymak; sadece sevgililer günü kartına bir tanem yazmayı ya da buna benzer şeyleri kastetmiyorum. Where they stumble is that they are trapped in their own bubbles and breaking down that protective wall is difficult, more for Hungry Paul than Leonard. These flashes of wit and poignancy make something exceptional out of what might easily have been humdrum, vindicating WH Auden’s assertion that the novelist must learn “how to be / One after whom none think it worth to turn”.

Leonard took off his noise-cancelling/society-repelling headphones and went to the kitchenette for a mid-morning cup, even though he always disliked the awkward wait for the water to boil and the prospect of the kettle-related time-killing small talk. The pair are quite awkward socially - Leonard is shy and low on confidence, while Hungry Paul displays some symptoms of autism, even though it is never explicitly mentioned. You’ll laugh and feel for the two main protagonists but all the characters in this book exude some sort of charm. It is a story about families who love each other, who enjoy each other’s company, but who struggle with how to strike the right balance between support and enabling. One of the most influential statements in literary history was perhaps Tolstoy’s claim that all happy families are alike, implying that they are unworthy of being written about.They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st Century. Grace and her husband left the church after their wedding to the exact same song my husband and I left the church to on our wedding day – The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, on the organ. At times, their happiness felt a little unearned, with Shelley slightly underdeveloped and Leonard too passive. It’s the loud, demanding ones that grab our attention, but it’s the many people like Leonard and Hungry Paul who steadfastly keep things moving. Hungry Paul is pretty quiet, maybe not getting on with his life as others would like, but happy in his own skin.

I have been saving it since then because all reports suggested that it was such a gentle, calm book that I wanted to find a time where things were quiet enough for me to savour it – where my outer circumstances would match my reading material. His sister’s despair over his lack of ambition is justified in a way as he doesn’t really want to get ahead – he just wants to help.I didn't believe in the competition that Hungry Paul enters, or the way the worthy hospital visits pan out. The quiet, unobtrusive and meaning-filled book is the story of two friends – Leonard and Hungry Paul – both quiet 30-ish year old men living quiet, unobtrusive but still meaning-filled lives, still based in their childhood homes. He didn’t have to decide which of a patient’s limbs to amputate first, or where to invest the life savings of a company’s pensioners. Leonard is now alone following the death of his mother and trying to cope with the grief and that is so much worse when you are alone. Flitting throughout from poignant, heartbreaking quietness to the most delicately insightful moments of joyful humour this is a book that should not be categorised.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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