‘Melting in the Middle’ by Andy Howden
Long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize, Melting in the Middle is a literary comedy about redemption and second chances, played out amid the madness of modern life.
For Stephen Carreras, life is in turmoil. His career with Britain’s worst chocolate company is heading for the rocks when it’s taken over by US confectionery giant Schmaltz. He’s just turned forty, he’s messed up on marriage and is struggling to keep a toehold in the lives of his monosyllabic teenage children.
Then he meets Rachel, who dances to a very different beat. She challenges him to do good among the carnage that surrounds him. But to do so, he must confront his past and work out all over again what really matters…
Andy Howden’s debut novel is described as literary comedy and it certainly has kudos and pedigree with its long listing status for the Exeter Novel Prize.
Howden is clearly a writer to watch. His prose has an easy flowing charm which put this reader in mind of the late, great Peter Mayle – and I mean this as compliment https://pajnewman.com/2018/01/20/adieu-roi-soleil/
‘Melting in the Middle’ has the same set up as a Mayle novel and the same gentle dissatisfaction of a man who is seemingly okay – job he quite enjoys, private life a bit wonky – which is then disrupted by outside forces and saved by the love of an enticing new woman in his life. It is a combination designed to release as many endorphins as… well, as nice piece of chocolate on a day when you need it.
Howden’s story does appear to have been heavily influenced by the takeover of Cadbury’s by American company Kraft from 2010 and he uses this as the disruptive event which forces Stephen to take stock of his life.
‘Melting in the Middle’ is a pleasing novel which will alleviate the gloom of a lockdown afternoon and leave you looking forward to more from the selection box of this new author on the block.
Author Bio –
Born in Yorkshire, Andy Howden read English at Sheffield University before a career in marketing, including working for a multi-national company in London and Paris. This novel was long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize as ‘funny, poignant and uplifting’ and sprang out of a MA in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University in Twickenham. Andy lives in South West London with his wife and has two grown up children who have left home but fortunately keep popping back to see him.
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