Fishbowl: What the Goldfish saw as he Fell from the 27th Floor by Bradley Somer
Published by Ebury Press
6th August 2015
From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian the Goldfish has frequent – if fleeting – desires for a more exciting life. Until one day, a series of unfortunate events gives him an opportunity to escape…
Our story begins, however, with the human inhabitants of Ian’s building. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.
And as Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he will witness all their lives, loves, triumphs and disasters…
Ian, the Goldfish, lives on the balcony of the 27th floor of an apartment belonging to Connor, a cheating love-rat. As his bowl is tipped one day, he makes an unfortunate 4 second plummet from his home on the 27th floor to the pavement below, and Fishbowl is a glimpse into the lives of the other residents as he passes them by.
Alongside Connor, we have his devoted girlfriend Katie, who on her way up to find out if he loves her, is passed on the way down by Faye, the woman who has just tumbled out of Connor's bed. We have Herman, a home-schooled child who lives with his grandfather who suffers from epilepsy but believes he can see the lives of those he meets, both past and future. We also meet the caretaker of the building, known only by the name on his shirt, who harbours a secret and of Claire, who suffers from agoraphobia and hasn't left her apartment for years so now uses the telephone for her job, talking dirty to men who call her. By the end of the book, two ambulances will have been called, but for whom, and why?
Fishbowl is a enjoyable read, and I got through it in one sitting. I like books where there are lots of characters who all live separate lives but then they become inextricably entwined, in this case, by where they live. Bradley Somer does just this and it works well. You feel drawn to each character, and most of them, by the end of the book, get their just deserts. The book also has the added bonus of a glimpse of Ian on every page as he makes his way from the top floor to the pavement at the end of the book.