Read The Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall Online


Who is the Roundabout Man? He calls himself Quinn, the name of a boy in a world-famous series of children's books. What he hopes no one will discover is that he's the real Quinn, immortalised as a child by his mother in her entrancing tales about a little boy's adventures with his triplet sisters....

Title : The Roundabout Man
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780340994306
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 329 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Roundabout Man Reviews

  • Kinga
    2019-06-12 08:04

    “I exist in the eye of the storm, the calm in the centre of a perpetual hurricane of cars and lorries heading for the M6, the north and Scotland, or south to Penzance and Land’s End. I sometimes wonder if they don’t go on the motorway at all, that I hear the same vehicles circling endlessly, a kind of multiple Flying Dutchman, doomed to travel for ever. I don’t regret for one minute that I am no longer one of them”. Meet Quinn Smith who parked his caravan on a roundabout and decided to stay there for good. Far from being a usual tramp, he soon attracts the attention of local people and, of course, tabloids, which is obviously the last thing he needs or wants during his self-imposed exile. I think we can all agree that it is a very interesting premise, so I was a little disappointed to learn that this book really belongs to the ‘family secrets’ genre. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with ‘family secrets’ books, except that if you read enough of them, you can see the secrets a good hundred pages ahead and you desperately need the book to offer you more to keep you hooked.So what does The Roundabout Man offer in terms of substance?During the course of the novel we learn the history of Quinn Smith, immortalised as a clumsy three year old with unlaced shoes by his novelist mother who might’ve been the true heroine of the book. She is a grotesque figure, an unloving mother whom we are forced to dislike and a world famous author of a series of children’s books who (although ‘all resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental’) is quite obviously partly based on Enid Blyton.Morrall contrasts an idyllic childhood portrayed in Larissa’s books against Quinn’s sad and bleak existence on a roundabout near a service station. The twist is that Larissa Smith, the writer beloved all over the world was something of an evil bitch to her own children and couldn’t give Quinn and his three older sisters the sort of love that should come natural to a mother. Instead she writes them all into her books where she could be the exemplary mother who patted their children on their heads and gave them cups of hot chocolate. As you can imagine reading about your mother’s fictional affections and comparing it to the loveless reality would not do wonders for your personal development and self-esteem. Therefore all four children of Larissa Smith are messed up for life in ten different ways. It’s a shame that the mother wasn’t made into a more complex and conflicted character which would give the book more edge. As it is, we are not given any proof of her redeeming qualities even though we see her through the loving eyes of Quinn. Nonetheless, we are offered some kind of an explanation.My main complaint about books like this is that they have a tendency to explain their characters’ behaviour with one secret. Once that secret is revealed, everything becomes clear and makes sense. I think that’s narrative laziness and looking for an easy way out. Other than that, you really aren’t allowed to blame anything on your parents after you turn twenty-five. You are responsible for your own mistakes, but that, sadly, makes for a poor plot device.Morrall asks: “How much are we shaped by the stories we’ve grown up with, the films we’ve seen, the television series we’ve been following for years?” The sad answer to this is: a lot. Especially if you happen to be the prototype of an internationally famous character of children’s fiction. It does seem to be a label hard to shake off if, like Quinn, you are a rather insignificant human being and don’t have much to counter-balance it. Quinn’s belated coming of age among his new friends from the service station is the book’s strongest point. In the drab scenery of a motorway the reader can find a subtle beauty, so different from the in-your-face kind of the children stories.When I was a kid myself I too wanted to live on a bushy roundabout near our house. Now that I am grown up I realise it wouldn’t have been such a great idea after all. And this is what The Roundabout Man is mostly about – it’s about facing up to your childhood, its dreams and beliefs that more often than not can’t stand the test of time. It is also about the allure of childhood, this ‘paradise lost’ that looks a lot better on paper than in reality.originally published on

  • Jane
    2019-06-07 05:12

    I was charmed and intrigued from the very first page:“I exist in the eye of the storm, the calm in the centre of a perpetual hurricane of cars and lorries heading for the M6, the north and Scotland, or south to Penzance and Land’s End. I sometimes wonder if they don’t go on the motorway at all, that I hear the same vehicles circling endlessly, a kind of multiple Flying Dutchman, doomed to travel for ever. I don’t regret for one minute that I am no longer one of them.I call my caravan Dunromin, in the solid tradition of all those semi-detached streets that form the vertebrae of the country, because that’s exactly what I’ve done. Stopped roaming. I’ve anchored myself in the middle of one of the few patches of land where no one goes, among well-established birches, ashes, sycamores, surrounded myself with nettles and claimed sanctuary …”A story about someone who has steeped to one side of society. That’s something that Clare Morrall writes about so very, very well, and I was eager to read on.Quinn Smith lived quietly, in a caravan in the middle of a roundabout, close to a motorway service station that offered all of the simple amenities that he needed.His old-world charm, his unassuming nature, and his inbred politeness won over the staff. And so he was able to take advantage of the washroom, dined on unfinished meals and rejected produce, and read abandoned newspapers and magazines.It was a simple, quiet life, but it was knocked off kilter by an eager young reporter from the local newspaper. She wanted to write a series about unusual people. And wouldn’t the man whose history nobody knew, the man who lived such an unconventional life, be a wonderful subject?What she didn’t know was that Quinn had been a child star.His mother had been a writer. A hugely successful writer of children’s books, starring her children, Quinn and his triplet sisters, Hetty, Fleur and Zuleika.She had twisted her children’s lives into fantastical shapes.The books were still loved years after they were written. Academics wrote about them. And visitors flocked to family’s childhood home, turned into a tourist attraction by the National Trust.The stories were idyllic, and the reality should have been. But it wasn’t.But Quinn’s mother had little time for her children, or for the fourteen foster children who passed through their lives. There were definite echoes of Enid Blyton …The consequences – some positive and some negative – of the newspaper story change Quinn’s life, and make him realise that he must look for the answers to questions about his childhood that have troubled him for a long, long time.The story mixes Quinn’s past, present and future together nicely.The writing is as beautiful and as perceptive as I had expected, and full of intriguing characters, charming stories, lovely details and bittersweet emotions.Fascinating questions are thrown into the air. About how we view the past and how it shapes the present. About where the line between fact and fiction lies. About the importance of home and family. And about other things that I can’t quite put into words.Sometimes the story rambled. Sometimes it became a little too fanciful. And I notices a few loose threads.But its strangeness and charm kept me holding on. I had to finish a novel that shone such a wonderful light on humanityThe ending was bittersweet and exactly right.And now I have forgotten the wrong notes and I am happily remembering the notes that rang true.

  • Leonie
    2019-06-06 08:09

    So lacklustre. One of those books where on every page I thought "Why isn't this better?" It's got a good set-up, and while the author's writing style is pretty bland, it's serviceable. There just wasn't a centre, or anything individual or truly felt. Quinn, the narrator, was dull and faintly dislikeable. His sisters never came alive. I was constantly expecting something to happen, for something to be discovered, for the book to come together, for it to develop a point -- it's one of those books where we gradually explore the secrets of the past through flashbacks, so it seemed reasonable that the book might work like that. But we never got anywhere. We don't find out anything so very interesting that delves deeper into Quinn's mother's character. The conflicted feelings she left her children with were so poorly done. It was "Our mother was a darling and our childhood a golden idyll" versus "She was awful and heartless, our childhood was miserable and I can't forgive her." They never felt like real feelings felt by real people. The biggest problem of all was perhaps the issue of Quinn's mother and her books. The conceit of the book is that Quinn is the child of a super famous children's book author, who wrote about fictionalised versions of her children. Writing extracts of books that don't exist is not something most people do well, and neither, I've found, is creating imaginary phenomenoms. Really? I think, every time. People are so excited and interested in this? I think the best thing for Morrall to have done would have been to delete Enid Blyton from the world and basically have the author here be a stand-in for her. As it is, she writes sub-Enid Blyton stuff, in a world in which Enid Blyton exists, and is apparently an incredibly huge deal, with people obsessing over Quinn's childhood every time he tries to deal with everyday life, academics pontificating about the books and children still watching films and playing video games based on them, 50 years after they were written. The extracts all sound like they're Marks and Spencer's adverts or something, selling children's clothes and picnic food and furniture in unsubtle bland copycat words. It's not enough. For something to really take off in the way that these books apparently do, there needs to be some hook, something very appealing that's been nailed by the author in a way it hasn't been nailed before. The whole thing just so fundamentally didn't work that it bothered me all the way through. But seriously. Surely it should not be so very hard to create a cultural event that people would be believably obsessed with? I have almost never seen it done. And what makes people write bland books that don't come alive?

  • Anne
    2019-06-13 09:20

    There is no doubt that Clare Morrall is a very talented writer and has a string of best sellers behind her, but I really found it quite difficult to keep interested in the story of The Roundabout Man. The synopsis is intriguing; Quinn Smith lives in a caravan on a roundabout. Quinn Smith is famous, but not recognisable, his Mother was an author who based her award winning stories on Quinn and his triplet sisters. Quinn would rather that people did not know his true identity - he is happy living in his caravan, scrounging meals at the local motorway service station and generally keeping himself to himself. Until the day that a journalist appears and blows his cover. The story flits back and forth, from the present day and back to Quinn's childhood. He lived with the triplets, his mother (aka Mumski) and his father (aka The Professor). All in all, it was a strange childhood, his parents were distant and totally self-absorbed and only showed real interest in their family when they introduced a succession of foster children. I love the idea for this story, but I was so frustrated by the pace of it. The characterisation was fabulous, both the present day characters and the family of Quinn's childhood, but it felt distant and very hard to engage with.

  • Teresa
    2019-06-23 05:18

    I have previously enjoyed other books by Clare Morrall, "The Man who Disappeared", "The Language of Others" , "Astonishing Splashes of Colour". Her characters usually drift around the edges of “normality”, not quite fitting in with the mundanity of daily life. Quinn Smith, the protagonist of her latest novel, follows this pattern, having elected to opt out of his usual routine and, ironically, achieve tranquillity living in a caravan on a busy roundabout. Disruption comes with the arrival of a junior reporter for the local rag, trying to sniff out a human interest story and Quinn's life is literally turned upside down. Like the roundabout, the telling of Quinn's tale takes the reader on a meandering, circuitous route as we gradually learn more about this reclusive character. The narrative flits between present and past, giving us snippets of Quinn's rather unusual childhood, son of a prolific children's author who showed little affection to her own three children or indeed the series of 14 foster children who make brief appearances. The mother is very reminiscent of Enid Blyton with her predilection for creating stories of a bygone age and a nostalgia for an innocence which perhaps never was. Ironically, Quinn's present isolated existence with a narrow circle of acquaintances seems to be his first opportunity to live life to the full, away from the shadows of the past. This is a beautifully written story with fully realised and engaging charcters. It's a slow burner and one which rewards the reader's time and concentration. At times I was slightly irritated by the tortuous nature of the narrative but then Quinn certainly didn't lead a straightforward life! Fans of Clare Morrall will not be disappointed.

  • Justin
    2019-05-29 08:51

    Disappointing - this book didn't come alive for me. Quinn, the central character was just irritating. I got really bored with all the flashback stuff too. it had potential to be a good story - sadly not realised...

  • Sandra Danby
    2019-06-12 05:11

    A clever and involved story by Clare Morrall about a man, his real mother, father and triplet sisters, and the seemingly identical fictional family created by his author mother in her popular series ‘The Triplets and Quinn’. It is a gentle story which reels you in.At the age of 60 Quinn is living in a caravan parked in the middle of a wooded roundabout. He enjoys the quiet and the solitude. He forages for items to reuse, and scavenges for leftover food at the nearby Primrose Valley service station. We learn he fled the family home, The Cedars, the setting for ‘The Triplets and Quinn’ series, after spending his adult years there caring for his eccentric widowed mother and showing fans of her stories around the house. The real story of this family has been subsumed by his mother’s fiction, easy answers to inquisitive fans who spout fiction as if it is reality, and his unwillingness to face up to unpalatable truths.As real life and his mother’s fiction merge in Quinn’s head, it is a while before Quinn (and we) start to piece together the real story. Meanwhile real life intrudes at the roundabout and Quinn is forced to socialise with the service station employees. When, individually, his sisters visit him, he ends up with no answers and more questions. Why did his parents foster so many disadvantaged children, and then seem not to care about them? Was the story about the fictional Quinn’s kidnap as a baby based on a true event? And are the casseroles, left anonymously on his caravan doorstep, left there by foster child Annie of whom Quinn has fond memories?Yet again, another delightful novel from Clare Morrall. She is so good at delving into human nature, family connections and the unintended misunderstandings and mis-firings which can affect a person’s life. Is it too late for Quinn? With his parents, Mumski and the Professor dead, is the truth out of reach?Read more of my book reviews at

  • Barbara
    2019-06-16 03:07

    On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts, The Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall is a homemade granola. The crunch requires a moment to allow the flavors to blend on your tongue. And with each bite, you notice a new flavor.Quinn, an old man now, lives on a roundabout in his caravan. He's lived there for five years when a 21-year-old reporter shows up in his clearing for an interview, basically turning his quiet, homeless-style life upside down. The son of a famous author, Quinn questions his memory of his childhood not ever quite sure if what he remembers is reality or the fictionalized life his mother immortalized in her children's books. Will he ever find out the truth about his mother, her books, and his family?One of the many book lovers I know read and reviewed this book. I expressed my interest in reading it as well because I liked the idea of a character who so introspectively observed life. A few weeks later, I discovered The Roundabout Man in my mailbox. I'm so glad that I finally moved this book up to the top of my list. Clare Morrall writes a thought-provoking novel that probably needs more than one read to fully grasp the depth.If you enjoy a book that takes commitment, flips between childhood and adulthood, and analyzes relationships, then The Roundabout Man by Clare Morall just might be for you.

  • Glenis Stott
    2019-06-09 05:58

    (Large Print) I really enjoyed this book. The characters were not only real but, most of them at least, Quin, the triplets, Mumski, and The Professor, were unlike any other character I've read about. Quinn has had two lives, the one that Mumski wrote about and the one that he actually lived with. One was idyllic, one wasn't. He struggled with that. And so he ended up living in a caravan on a roundabout and being helped by the people in the Primrose Valley Service Station. I never knew what was going to happen next. Brilliant.

  • Tan Clover
    2019-06-23 02:14

    A story that steps aside and lets it's characters through. The fun is where we stand beside Quinn and his efforts to bring mundanity to his life. The subtlety is the complexity of how , when life gets you down, there is good in the ordinary people you meet along the way.

  • Cath
    2019-06-14 04:51

    Totally fantastical, but a good read. Some interesting characters. Works on several levels.

  • Anne Brooke
    2019-06-05 02:55

    It's always been an utter mystery to me why Clare Morrall isn't more widely known as she's one of the best living writers we have in the UK. Her books are always a joy to read and this one is no exception. Morrall dissects the convoluted life of Quinn gently and with great compassion, and his life, both as a child and an adult, rings clear and true. It's a gripping and humane story, and I loved it. I'm already looking forward to her next book!

  • Maya Panika
    2019-06-08 03:01

    Family are not always all you want them to be. Quinn Smith grows up with the same name as a character in his mother’s books, a funny little boy with a perfect life, an inspiration to thousands. But Quinn’s reality is far from the happy family life portrayed in the stories. His mother is a cold, remote, dislikeable woman who never wanted the child she writes of so lovingly in her stories. His sisters, the precociously capable triplets of the books, are, in reality, unhappy, self-obsessed bullies. Then there are the succession of foster children, who are never considered good enough to be integrated into the 'perfect' Smith family. The reality of the idealised, media-darling, happy-family tales of 'The Triplets and Quinn' is that of a dysfunctional, neglected, love-starved family with bonds so fragile that they simply disintegrate as the children grow old enough to rebel and the family falls apart.Now in his fifties, Quinn has finally found the courage to make his escape, living in a caravan on a roundabout beside a motorway service station. It’s a world away from the privileged cold comfort of The Cedars, the family home immortalised by his writer-mother, but Quinn loves his lonely life, believing he's hidden far enough away to have escaped his family forever. Then a terrible, chance event throws him on the mercy of strangers, and he is forced into the realisation that families don’t have to be linked by blood.Clearly inspired by the memories of Enid Blyton’s unhappy children, The Roundabout Man is a warm, delightful and very enjoyable read - and one that makes you think. Quinn is such an engaging character, his worlds – the current reality of his caravan life, the past life as the immortalised child of a famous writer, and the imaginary world of his mother’s books, where everyone is happy, the sun always shines, where there’s always another adventure to be had with a slap-up picnic at the end – are all beautifully evocative and detailed. There were very few things that didn’t work for me, but one was the mysterious benefactor. So much was made of the unexpected gifts, I was expecting something more than we finally got - not a major shock-horror-I-wasn’t-expecting-THAT! Revelation, that would have been wrong, but I would have liked something a little more interesting, more satisfying, than the afterthought we got. Then there was the ending. On first reading, the ending was unexpectedly melancholy and downbeat. I was a little upset. I wanted… something else, I’m not sure what, exactly, just something. But then I thought about it, couldn’t stop thinking about it - this book will take a while to leave my thoughts - and realised it was the only possible ending. Quinn had to leave the fantasy of his happy home and perfect childhood behind so he could finally move on. He has a new family now, the friends who were there for him when his blood-relations were not. He has a new life, a home he loves, finally, he’s free. A beautiful, thoughtful, and very readable book; highly recommended to anyone who enjoys gentle pathos touched with kindness and humanity.

  • Jayne Charles
    2019-06-24 08:07

    Another great novel from Clare Morrall who is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. In this one we meet Quinn, aged 60 and living in a caravan concealed on a traffic island. He survives by foraging for food in the bins at a nearby motorway service station and doesn’t consider himself a tramp.It isn’t really a story about rough living, more about the past that Quinn is seeking to escape from. It turns out that his mother was a very successful children’s novelist who fictionalised the lives of her four children, which made them rich but had detrimental effects on their lives in other ways. A bit like the real Christopher Robin I suppose – I read somewhere that he was less than impressed with the way his childhood had become public property – so I guess the author is on firm ground here.The way the phenomenon of the fictional books is delivered is particularly impressive – the reader gets a real sense of them, with their irresistible mix of whimsy and adventure set within the bubble of an idyllic 1950s childhood. I thought initially they were supposed to be a thinly veiled “Famous Five” series – the characters even consume “lashings of ginger beer”, but towards the end Enid Blyton herself is referenced, as though to make it clear that they are not. With film adaptations and computer games and obsessive fans across the world, it is clear to the reader what a massive burden Quinn and his sisters have had to bear.Whilst a thoroughly engaging read, I found some apects of the novel disappointing. The action, with one or two exceptions, is very low key and it doesn’t really build to any kind of crescendo. The explanation offered for Quinn’s mother’s indifference towards him, and boys in particular, felt weak. And some of the goings-on at the service station, whilst interesting in a way (I haven’t read many books centred around service stations and the attempt to give this one a personality and a heart was admirable) weren’t always believable. Would the assistant really have left her two kids in the care of a homeless guy all day?Looking back, what I liked most about this novel was the thing I have liked about all her others – the way she zeroes in on people in society who are different in some way, and examines the challenges they face in a compelling and readable way.

  • Sid Nuncius
    2019-05-31 09:07

    I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written and had some very insightful things to say.The theme of the book is the sometimes tangled relationship between truth and fiction and how that may affect our lives in different ways. The story centres around Quinn, a man now past sixty who grew up in a household very like that of Enid Blyton in which his mother wrote extremely popular children's stories about the fictional exploits of Quinn and his older triplet sisters and created a myth of a cosy, loving family, but who showed her own children very little affection. Quinn has now chosen to escape the fictional self of his mother's books whom everyone thinks they know, living alone and without money in a caravan on a roundabout on an English motorway interchange and surviving on what he can find.Clare Morrall uses this to explore the way in which the stories we tell about ourselves and others can influence the way we behave and relate to each other, and how they may profoundly influence the course of our lives, and she does it extremely well. In clean, very readable prose she creates very believable, complex characters and paces her story beautifully. There is a fractured timescale as the first person narrative moves between the present and events of the past. Done badly, this can be dreadful, but Morrall has a deft touch and I found the whole book involving and quite gripping. She paints wonderful portraits of growing up in an English literary household in the late 1950s and of modern characters, each subtly subject to their own or Quinn's fictions about them but without this ever becoming laboured, and she gives Quinn a wholly convincing male narrative voice.I found this book original, absorbing and involving. The characters and what they convey about our lives and relationships will stay with me for a long time, I think. Very warmly recommended.

  • Tadzio Koelb
    2019-06-03 04:17

    From my review in the TLS: Quinn Smith, narrator of The Roundabout Man, lives in a caravan parked on a roundabout near a motorway. Eating meals left unfinished by visitors to a nearby service station, living without electricity or water, he has almost completely abandoned society. By withdrawing, he hopes to escape the notoriety that has defined his life, for Quinn is one of the main characters in a series of stories (The Triplets and the Kidnapping of Baby Quinn, The Triplets and the Secret of Rocky Island) written by his mother, world-famous children’s author Larissa Smith ... Unfortunately it is hard to care much about Quinn’s problems. One important reason for this is Quinn himself. His defining characteristic is a lack of agency: he does as he is told by his mother, by the triplets, by the foster children, by his wife. Even his residence on the roundabout is an accident: he crashed there and just never bothered moving on. His ho-hum voice offers the author no chance for anything but the most pedestrian prose, and she has given him an unhappy tendency to pontificate: “Service stations are not beautiful places, however hard they pretend to be, with their pale wood and potted plants.” It’s jejune but, as shorthand for Quinn’s dishwater personality, perhaps forgivable. Regrettably, there follow more of his thoughts about service stations, and the predictable small talk people make when in them. While theoretically satirical (readers, having presumably said similar things, must experience themselves as petty and unoriginal), in practice it is a collection of tedious conversations linked by insipid commentary.

  • DubaiReader
    2019-05-30 08:55

    'The Triplets and Quinn'.I enjoyed the audio version of this book, excellently read by Gordon Griffin. It was light enough to entertain me whilst driving, while having some deeper messages to make it worthwhile.The Roundabout Man of the title, is none other than Quinn Smith, depicted in his mother's popular series of childrens' books, as a scruffy-haired little boy with falling-down socks. When we meet him he is nearing 60 and desperate to separate himself from this huge persona.He now lives where no-one will ever look for him - in a caravan, in the centre of a roundabout.Unfortunately one person does track him down, a nosey young magazine reporter, whose article sends his life spiralling in totally unforeseen directions.The motorway service station, just off the roundabout, is his source of food, warmth and contact with people. But what starts out as an impersonal, transitory, brick building, turns out to house an interesting secondary family.'The Triplets and Quinn' series also features Quinn's triplet sisters, who appeared to be close as children but seem to have fractured apart as adults.Larissa Smith, their mother and the author of the famous series, writes knowledgeably about childhood adventures, yet seems totally unable to care for and love her own children.Clare Morrall writes beautifully about isolation and the longing for a mother, but the reason given for why Larissa was so distant was the weak link for me. Otherwise, this was an excellent read from an interesting author.Also read by Clare Morrall:The Language of Others (5 stars)

  • Tim Roast
    2019-06-20 08:10

    I was intrigued by this book: "The Roundabout Man" about a man living on a roundabout. How could that be interesting? Well it starts off with Quinn Smith living in his caravan on the roundabout being confronted by a newspaper reporter he clearly isn't interested in talking to. And that leads to a newspaper article and suddenly things happen to Quinn.It turns out Quinn was one of the stars of a series of children's books written by his mother and "The Roundabout Man" flits between his current life and his past when his mother wrote those books and the days when he was a child. It does it very well with the flashbacks coming in and out of the main narrative concerning his current plight. Passages from his mother's books are also dealt like this.I did however feel that the character Quinn Smith was a bit inconsistent. He wanted to meet a childhood acquaintance then he didn't; He wanted to escape his past but then he started delving into it in an attempt to finally separate the fact from the fiction. Maybe this was the author's intention for this character thus bringing a double meaning to the title of the book?Anyway it was very well written and a nice read.

  • Jo Bennie
    2019-06-04 07:10

    Quinn Smith is approaching old age and is in retreat from his past. His mother was a children's author, as famous as as Shirley Hughes, AA Milne, Arthur Ransome and Enid Blyton, and he and his triplets are the infamous stars of her books. But real life growing up in Quinn's family was very different, as bereft of love as rich in priveledge and he has grown old without growing up, fixed like a fly in amber at the age of 5 in the pages of his mother's books. As The Roundabout Man opens Quinn is living in anonimity in a caravan on a motorway roundabout, hidden away in the trees that remain of Primrose Valley and existing by scavenging from the service station of the same name. But his peace is disturbed when he is approached by a young ambitious journalist unaware of his past, who breaks his solitude. As tragedy strikes he is forced into contact and engagement with the staff of Primrose Valley service station and begins at last to question his past and separate the fiction of his mother's books from the reality of a painful upbringing. Delicately asking the question as to what happens to those like Christopher Robin who have fame thrust upon them by others

  • Girl with her Head in a Book
    2019-06-23 03:01

    Children's authors get a rough press in fiction. The celebrated The Children's Book features an author who writes adventures for her progeny, appropriating their names for stories which disregard their true identities. The fate of real-life literary offspring such as Christopher Robin and Peter Llewellyn-Davies casts rather a shadow over the halcyon adventures of classic children's fiction but without these antecedents, as a society we are always primed to look for the lie - the break-up behind the two glowing celebrities' perfect marriage, the crack in the smile, the secret sorrow in success. We write our own interpretation of their lives onto their faces, but The Roundabout Man poses the question of how one can understand one's own identity when it has been appropriated by the rest of the world.For my full review:http://girlwithherheadinabook.blogspo...

  • Meera
    2019-06-24 02:53

    Quite a cute story about Quinn, an elderly man who lives in a caravan on a roundabout. Quinn has never really grown up properly, he and his three sisters (who are triplets) were immortalised by their mother in a series of childrens books, and everybody thinks they know him from the three year old boy he was characterised as in these books. His mother is portrayed as a cold, unfeeling woman, who likes to hold up the image of a whimsical, loving childhood in her books, but in reality she doesn't want to have anything to actually do with bringing up her own children. This results in all four children becoming damaged and unable to relate to one another normally or to everyday life. Quinn decides to escape from his life and his family, but circumstances bring them back to him and force him to confront his past. I found this quite engagingly written, but it did meander, and nothing really happens so I can appreciate why some people found this frustrating.

  • Susan Grossey
    2019-06-24 06:21

    I really liked the premise of this book - hence choosing it in the first place - but it was a real struggle to finish it. I found it rather repetitive, and the central character oddly unengaging. As with many books that have two timeframes - current and past - I found that I much preferred one (current, in this case) and grew impatient with the other. Maybe I'm just getting fussier as I grow older, or perhaps it's because I spend a great deal of effort trying to make my own novels as "tight" as possible, but I often find myself muttering, "Oh DO get on with it" when authors write long passages where nothing happens. And I'm afraid this book has plenty of those. A really good plot idea wasted.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-03 02:51

    Reading the summary, I thought this book had great potential for a book on self-actualization and facing your demons. However, the book did not live up to my expectations. Although the writing was quite beautiful, the story itself became somewhat boring. I made it to page 150 with struggle, then I decided that those 150 pages had the same content. Quinn wants to be alone, but also doesn't. He loves his mother but he also doesn't. In short, it was a long read without any new information than had been given in the first 10 pages.

  • Vicki
    2019-06-24 04:07

    I really liked this book. Quirky, funny, tragic, sad, all these things rolled into one as Quinn (the 60yr old main character) tries to come to terms with his unusual childhood. He is the son of the most famous children’s author in the world, Larissa Smith, and the hero of six books featuring himself and his triplet sisters. Living alone as a penniless hermit on a city roundabout, Quinn befriends the staff a the local service station as he unravels the truth from the fiction in his mothers books.

  • Li-Lian Ang
    2019-06-02 06:19

    I couldn't even finish the book... It was originally cool how this old man was living in the roundabout and everything but THERE WAS NO POINT TO THE STORY. The story doesn't look like its supposed to GO anywhere there is no conflict, no ending to reach, no purpose which is what makes any story. Yes there is a starting and some cool familial problems being highlighted but the reason for this story was never highlighted.

  • Janneke
    2019-06-11 08:17

    The book centres on a man who wishes to escape his identity as a character in his mother's books, but discover and leans to accept the truth about his childhood. The book is funny, sometimes hopeful, but also very uncomfortable. It also make you wonder about the extent all are lives are influenced by fictional stories. If we do or experience something ... we cannot help but remember the precedents set by books and films.This is a book for writers.

  • Jennifer Davies
    2019-05-25 05:57

    A feel good story about finding out that people are basically nice.Quinns mother was a famous Enid Blyton type author and he lived in the family home until one day he could take no more of the tours and questions and left. He drove until he ended up on a roundabout near a service station and that is when he stops. All is fine until his caravan is attacked and that is when the service station staff decide to help him out.Like I said a good weekend feel good story.

  • Triduana
    2019-06-17 06:11

    I made it to Chapter 4. It wasn't holding my attention: nothing had really happened up to this point; I found I had been reading and taking nothing in. Maybe I've spent too much time in motorway service stations to find the setting in any way captivating. I though the plot was a bit thin and none of the characters were engaging me. Maybe it gets better, but I will give it a miss.

  • Michael Reffold
    2019-06-18 08:01

    Disappointing, considering that I have read and enjoyed other books by Clare Morrall. The dialogue was unrealistic and the characters quite unlikeable, so it was difficult to invest in this. The sections looking back at the protagonist's childhood were quite good but the present day bits were not engaging, and there were a few obvious revelations that didn't add much to the story.

  • Alan Stuart
    2019-06-23 10:06

    While the premise of this novel is interesting, a group of children immortalised in fiction who as adults rally against the celebrity of their past, the plot runs out of steam early on and it's a bit of a plod to the end. Pity, as in the "excerpts" from the children's books, Morrall nails the Enid Blyton style of writing perfectly.