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Sketcher by Roland Watson Grant


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This atmospheric, uplifting and deeply moving debut, set in the 1980s in an impoverished area of Louisiana, is a novel about the beauty of life no matter how broken it is. His publisher, who discovered him at a creative writing awards ceremony said ‘his writing reminds me of Mark Twain and J D Salinger in that ability to capture the whole tone and mood of a place just through the voice of the character.' We think it is a stunning debut from an exciting new voice in literature. Read the Opening Extract and see what you think.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Sketcher a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I found this novel entirely fascinating and enchanting' - Julie Bickerdyke. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Roland Watson Grant you might also like to read books by Monique Roffey, Lola Shoneyin and Albert French.


Sketcher by Roland Watson Grant

Nine-year-old Skid Beaumont's family is stuck in the mud. Following his father's decision to relocate and build a new home, based on a drunken vision that New Orleans would rapidly expand eastwards into the wetlands as a result of the Seventies' oil boom, Skid and his brothers grow up in a swampy area of Louisiana. But the constructions stop short, the dream fizzles out, and the Beaumonts find themselves sinking in a soggy corner of 1980s Cold War America. As things on the home front get more complicated, Skid learns of his mother's alleged magic powers and vaguely remembers some eerie stories surrounding his elder brother Frico. These, as well as early events that Skid saw with his own eyes, convince him that Frico has a gift to fix things by simply sketching them. For the next few years, Skid's self-appointed mission to convince his brother to join him in his lofty plan to change their family's luck and the world they live in will lead to even more mystery and high drama in the swamp. Atmospheric, uplifting and deeply moving, Sketcher - Roland Watson-Grant's stunning debut - is a novel about the beauty of life no matter how broken it is.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Sketcher. You can read their reviews below.

Julie Bickerdyke - 'I found this novel entirely fascinating and enchanting...You immediately adore Skid and really root for him in his quest to make life better.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'This is the most atmospheric book I have read. The writing is superb - imaginative and poetic - and he creates some stunning images...Do read it, a very accomplished debut.' Click here to read the full review.

Rachel Bridgeman - 'Highly recommended reading, if at first it's hard to get into, stick with it because I promise you, this book delivers and I, for one, cannot wait to see whether the author returns to the same characters or tries something else, I'll be along for the ride.' Click here to read the full review.

Sam Lewis - The story is so moving as it highlights the importance of family life and sticking together through the hard times...This is a fantastic debut by Roland, one which rates highly in my opinion and will be fully recommended.' Click here to read the full review.

Manisha Natha - It captures the reader’s imagination and makes you wonder what you would do if you were able to change things just by drawing them...' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'This book is a great example of how satisfying it can be to read outside of your comfort zone...Sketcher is funny, intelligent and heart-warming.' Click here to read the full review.

A wonderfully joyous, eccentric first novel. - The Times

A witty Mark Twain-like diversion that tells of superstition and mojo-conjuring among the swamp folk of the Bayou during the Reaganite 1980s. - The Spectator

Part rambunctious tale of adolescence and part voodoo ghost story - a richly textured evocation of life in the Bayou, lush with fruitful descriptions and the tall tales of folklore. - The Literary Review

If the broken parts of life cannot always be mended, most of it is still more than good enough, in these rollicking chronicles from the sticky side of Louisiana. - The Independent

A funny, sad, atmospheric novel... Captivating and characterful. - The Sunday Times

Funny, heartfelt and beguiling debut... The core strength of Sketcher is Skid's first-person account, told in colloquial Louisiana dialect. He is a funny and sharp observer, a bit of a wise-arse - part Scout Finch, part Huck Finn, part Bart Simpson - yet capable of stunning lyricism - The Bookseller

About the Author

Roland Watson Grant

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Roland Watson-Grant, a former teacher of English, studied Literature at the University of the West Indies. He now works in advertising as Creative Director. Sketcher is his first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th February 2014


Roland Watson Grant

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Alma Books Ltd


300 pages


Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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