ELEVEN is the second novel I’ve read by Mark Watson and I continue to be impressed by how much his own voice and personality disappear behind his writing: the mark of a true artist. What does remain are his warmth and un-pretentiousness (if there is such a word, which there probably isn’t if I go by the red squiggly line under it in my editor).
Eleven is SO easy to read. Without realising it, you are transported backwards and forwards in time, you are interested in what’s going on in Xavier’s workplace (a radio station) and his flat, you are let into his friendship with Murray (his sidekick) and get a glimpse of the life of his neighbours, which are never exactly what they appear to be.
To describe the plot would do a disservice to the book, as it’s remarkably simple. Xavier, a radio presenter, left his Australian life behind five years ago due to an incident which I won’t reveal here. That’s mainly it, but the ease with which Mark Watson tells us about his day to day life and those around him, make it difficult to put down the novel.
Xavier changes through the book, like all well-written heroes. He is more than a late night radio show presenter – he cares about his listeners (in spite of him trying not to) and although he tries to keep his distance, it’s not always possible. During Eleven, we share the moment in Xavier’s life in which he can finally move away from his past by changing his approach to life and those around him.
What I loved most about the book was the range of characters (eleven of them!), with their futures marked out for them. There are more than eleven, but it’s eleven characters who create a chain of events with the broadest of consequences. The novel is a reminder of how the smallest of our actions can affect the lives of others – not just to those around us, but to those linked to us by eleven degrees of separation.
You might want to visit: www.markwatsonthecomedian.com/