The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise
(From Librarythings Early Review program. Is currently out)
The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise follows a slew of characters as they make their lives in and around the Tower of London. There is Balthazar Jones, a Beefeater with the worlds oldest tortoise, his wife Hebe, one of two employs of the Tube's lost properties department, The Tower bar maid who was born while the resident doctor played monopoly and The Tower Chaplin, who builds elaborate machines and writes erotic fiction in his spare time.
Though I found the first few pages a bit slow, The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise was a really beautiful, and moving read. I thought that all of the characters, and believe me there are many, were well rounded and interesting. For the first time in a long time I thought that everyone in this ensemble acted like a real person, they thought like real people do and responded accordingly.
The overall story was really original. Seeing the lives of modern Beefeaters was really interesting, as well as Hebe's job in lost properties. My only with this novel was how long it took to get information out. Things that are set up at the beginning of the novel take till the last pages to become completely understandable. This wouldn't a issue if it was a mystery novel, but as it's just straight up fiction and the information becomes more irritating and less interesting with the massive buildups than any moving moment.
One of the best books I've read in months.Perfect for reading on a rainy day, on a long train ride or by the side of a pool.