Diary of a Somebody
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2019, Diary of a Somebody is a unique mix of poetry and diary by the unofficial Poet Laureate of Twitter, the enigmatic Brian Bilston.
‘Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I’m giving it to EVERYONE, and I want to appear clever and discerning.’ – Dawn French
It’s January 1st and Brian Bilston’s life needs to change. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a motivational speaker and marketing guru to boot; he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son; and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon.
Brian’s resolution is to write a poem every day; poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle to his happiness in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis in the Poetry Group and rival suitor to Liz, Brian’s new poetic inspiration. When Toby goes missing, Brian is the number one suspect.
Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is a unique, original and hilarious novel.
‘Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year.’ – Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt.
Sparkling with wit, intelligence and humanity. -- Jonathan Coe * First Printing * The midlife answer to Adrian Mole? It's a big comparison to make, in comic novel terms, but Brian Bilston is worthy. In Diary of a Somebody, Brian makes a New Year's Resolution to write a poem a day for a year. Hilarious results ensue, as well as the disappearance of a poetry (and love) rival. Laugh. Cry. Cringe -- Stella Magazine * Sunday Telegraph * Charming, funny and touching. -- Ian Rankin * First Printing * Part murder mystery, mainly great comic novel. * "What We're Reading", i * An original, imaginative and funny book. * Daily Mirror * Bilston has perfected his comic voice, which brings to mind a bitter man-child with spades of misanthropic charm and a dash of Alan Partridge-esque pedantry. This is a comic novel of the highest order. * Literary Review * This fun, charming novel is a fine showcase for Bilston's irrepressible creativity . . . It's all done with wit, playfulness and a sense of amused wonder at the possibilities and idiosyncrasies of the English language, with the occasional groanworthy pun seeming like a price well worth paying. -- Alastair Mabbott * Herald * In 1892, George and Weedon Grossmith published The Diary of a Nobody, now a classic of comic writing. In 1978, Christopher Matthew updated the idea. Now Brian Bilston brings us another Diary of a Somebody and it's as fun as its predecessors. -- William Hartston * Daily Express * Word play, laugh-out-loud poems and the deft skewering of office life are part of the fun in this brilliant comic debut. -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express * Bilston is no stranger to crafting cleverly composed poetry * Huffington Post * Part John Cooper Clarke, part Frank Sidebottom . . . brilliant * Esquire * One of the funniest novels in years . . . It also has genuine heart - and scores of poems so witty and accomplished that, in the real world, their author would surely be as famous as, well . . . I predict that Brian Bilston will soon be * Reader's Digest * Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes -- Ian McMillan Brian Bilston is bringing poetry to the masses . . . topical, witty, thoughtful * Irish Times * The pseudonymous Brian Bilston turns the base metal of comic verse into gold . . . Imagine a mash-up of John Cooper Clarke, Ed Reardon's Week and James Joyce, and you're about halfway there . . . Bilston is a magician with words . . . Read this novel in short bursts, pausing to savour its individual brilliancies * Guardian * Bilston is the greatest English anti-hero of our time. His poems have delighted people on Twitter for several years, and now he's treated us to this brilliant novel . . . This book has everything you want from a comic novel . . . Brian Bilston is real. And I love him * Spectator * Highly original, genuinely funny and clever, with a gentle humanity in between the lines. Brian Bilston should be Poet Laureate -- John O'Farrell The English comic novel, whose death this year was announced prematurely, is actually alive, well and in the safe hands of Brian Bilston -- Jonathan Coe * The Times * In a similar way to Morrissey and John Cooper Clarke, [Bilston] has the ability to make the mundane both funny and beautiful - whether that's taking out the bins or procrastinating on Twitter . . . A must-read for anyone who is a fan of wordplay, puns, The Smiths and custard creams. -- Dominic Kearney * Irish News * A welcome reminder of the joy to be had when you put yourself in the hands of someone who knows their way round both a joke and a bittersweet narrative . . . Funny and ingenious * The Times * He has a knack for playing with language but his poems are accessible, witty and touching . . . In fact I rather regretted reading it over just a couple of days - it would have been better to take longer and saver it. -- Kirsty McLuckie * The Scotsman Magazine * The midlife answer to Adrian Mole? It's a big comparison to make, in comic novel terms, but Brian Bilston - parodist and 'poet laureate of Twitter'- is worthy . . . Laugh. Cry. Cringe. * Stella Magazine, Sunday Telegraph * How do I laugh at thee? Let me count the ways . . . If you like sub-Carry On puns, clever parodies of famous poems and Wittgensteinian meditations on language, you'll love it * Mail on Sunday * Not since Victoria Wood has a writer squeezed so much hilarity from a biscuit. * The Oldie * If you like a) laughing or b) words which rhyme with each other, you will love Brian Bilston -- Richard Osman Achingly funny. Without doubt it should win next year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for the best comic novel, even if my own novel is in contention as well -- Jonathan Coe Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year. -- Adam Kay Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I'm giving it to EVERYONE -- Dawn French
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