‘Isaac Egg’ by Bobby Palmer, narrated by Johnny Flynn
Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams.
Something screams back.
And that, like everything which follows, is unforgettable.
This is a book about a lot of things – grief, hope, friendship, love. It’s also about what you’d do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.
It’s a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you’ve lived until now.
Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. ‘Isaac and the Egg’ is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read. (Synopsis courtesy of https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/bobby-palmer/isaac-and-the-egg/9781472285485)
You don’t think about eggs very often, do you? At least, I don’t.
They are fragile: they are robust. Hard, soft, boiled, fried. They can represent stones rolled away from tombs, they can be balanced on their ends during the Vernal equinox. Allegedly. In evolutionary philosophy, they pose quite the conundrum – they are symbols of fertility: they are Schrodinger’s foodstuff.
And, in Bobby Palmer’s quirkily idiosyncratic debut, they may be a metaphor for the scrambled brain fog the eponymous Isaac is experiencing as his world disintegrates through loss and grief and everyone’s favourite river in Africa, denial.
‘Isaac and the Egg‘ is not hard boiled fiction (see what I did there?) But Palmer is a writer who blends the easy prose of a man who has worked damn hard to make it look this easy with the emotional depth charge that someone like Nick Hornby provides when dealing with men old enough to be better, but too immature to do better.
Narrator Johnny Flynn does an exceptional job. His voice has the honeyed tones of Matthew Goode – until the becalmed peace of my garden was shattered by the dog-whimpering quality of the scream used to replicate the voice of the egg. It was a shock. Almost as much as when I googled him and discovered he was the geezer from Lovesick! Either way, he is a phenomenal audiobook narrator.
‘Isaac and the Egg’ is a startling assured debut. It has a ‘Life of Pi’, ‘ET’, ‘Alien’ crossed with ‘High Fidelity’ atmosphere which marks Palmer out as a talent to watch. Moving, funny, melancholic, quirky and fast paced, this may be the late summer read we all need right now and is the sort of novel which resonates and vibrate through you as a reader long after it is finished.
You can pre-order – and support this blog into the bargain – from Bookshop.org here: https://t.co/8ml3fNrc6B
Bobby Palmer is a freelance journalist who writes for publications including Time Out, GQ, Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan. Isaac and the Egg is his debut novel. (Biography courtesy of https://www.hachette.co.uk/contributor/bobby-palmer)