Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review : Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

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I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Bradley Somer’s FISHBOWL.

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (6 Aug. 2015)
ISBN-10: 0091956927
ISBN-13: 978-0091956929

Even a goldfish can dream of adventure…

From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian the Goldfish has frequent – if fleeting – desires for a more exciting life. Until one day, a series of unfortunate events gives him an opportunity to escape…

Our story begins, however, with the human inhabitants of Ian’s building. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.

And as Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he will witness all their lives, loves, triumphs and disasters…

A truly original, philosophically joyful and charming novel with the unlikeliest of heroes. This is Tales of the City as seen by a goldfish.

Amazon UK

Amazon US


A fabulous first chapter sets the scene reflecting what a building actually is – a living entity – and as we follow Ian’s journey, it’s clear just how much the building (The Seville on Roxy) itself is a fundamental part of the story.

Katie bought Ian the goldfish for boyfriend Connor.  Falling in love easily, she’s on her way for an unexpected visit to his studio apartment.  The superintendent of the building Jiminez is trying to fix the lift.  The other inhabitants we get to have a window into their lives; Petunia Delilah whose baby is due in 3 weeks; Garth is on his way home with a package that holds a secret; Claire is going about her work and Herman, well Herman is somewhat different to your average teen (who later becomes a hero) and Faye as she’s walking down the stairs.

The characters and their everyday lives hooked me in.  I won’t go into their stories except to say that every emotion and life event you can think of is experienced within these 320 pages. There are tense moments when I had no idea if things would work out.  When I wasn’t reading, I spent some time thinking about Hermon. High functioning and complex he fascinated me the most.  

Events unfolding in The Seville on Roxy are, of course, seen by Ian.  There’s the science of what is happening to him but also a lot of thinking out of the box (or bowl in Ian’s case – sorry, couldn’t resist!).  Why Ian is falling is not what you think it’s going to be either – I love surprises in novels! and of course I wanted to know what happened to Ian when he reached the end of his descent …

How the author interconnects and ties in inconsequential events that have an impact later in the story is very skilfull … One action unrelated at the time affects something in the future and a series of events impacting on each other.  

I have to say I loved Ian!  (You can follow him on Twitter @goldfish_ian) I think we can all learn from his philosophy.

Sometimes you just have to let it happen.

Check out what Ian sees as he falls:

Fishbowl is a unique read.  It will hold your interest, grab your thoughts and maybe even make you wonder whose life you’ve impacted on.

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Connect with the author


Twitter @BradleySomer

Check out the other stops on tour:

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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