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On the brink of forty, newly single with a failed business, Philip thought he'd reached an all-time low. It only needed a discarded chip on a South London street to lay him literally flat. So, bedbound and bored, Philip naturally starts to write the story of his life. But the mundane catalogue of seaside holidays and bodged DIY, broken relationships and unspoken truths, reveals more surprises, both comic and touching, than Philip or his family ever bargained for. Even, perhaps, a happy ending...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099414568
ISBN-10: 0099414562
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 14mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 31-Dec-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » It takes considerable skill, imagination and humour to write a novel about 'ordinary' people to whom, on the surface, very little happens - and keep the reader gripped from page to page. However, in this new novel, Clare Chambers, author of Learning to Swim and A Dry Spell, has succeeded triumphantly. Philip is the least likely of heroes: he is approaching forty, his publishing business (dedicated to self-help titles) has gone bankrupt and the love of his life has been forced to return to her native New Zealand. The last straw is a discarded chip on a London pavement on which, slightly hung-over from the previous night's New Year's Eve party, he slips, falling awkwardly and wrenching his back. Bed-bound and bored, he decides to spend his recovery time writing the story of his childhood with put-upon Mum, Dad - the worst DIY operator in the business - and Raymond, his long-emigrated brother. And so, tentatively, Philip begins his story. It is only as it progresses that it becomes clear - to the reader at least - that almost unconsciously he is opening cupboard doors on to skeletons he's only half aware of, some still all-too-solidly flesh and blood. The revelations he conjures up stir something in his depths. For too long he's passively accepted what life has offered to him. It's time for him to take matters into his own hands, and make something happen... (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Clare Chambers

Clare Chambers was born in Croydon in 1966 and read English at Oxford. She wrote her first novel during a year in New Zealand, after which she worked as an editor for a London publisher. She is also the author of Dr y Spell, Learning to Swim and In a Good Light. She is married and lives in Kent with her husband and young family.

Books By Author Clare Chambers

Burning Secrets by Clare Chambers

Burning Secrets

Paperback, March 2011
Editor's Wife by Clare Chambers

The Editor's Wife

Paperback, February 2008
In a Good Light by Clare Chambers

In a Good Light

Paperback, June 2005
Dry Spell by Clare Chambers

A Dry Spell

Paperback, November 2000