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This pub-set coming-of-age comedy reels with poignant honesty as a 20-year-old’s idealism clashes with grim realities.
Comic, characterful, and driven by a cast of larger-than-life characters, Shaun Hand’s The Sadness of the King George is as strongly flavoured as the kind of salt and vinegar crisps a person might purchase in The King George.
Our unnamed (and decidedly awkward) 20-year-old narrator’s life revolves around the pub - pulling pints, killing time, in the company of the pub’s many regulars. If only he could find confidence, find a life for himself, find a girlfriend even. Trouble is, even when these possibilities present themselves, it’s not a given that he can summon the strength of character to bring them to fruition.
Pacey, packed with authentic West Midlands dialect, and shot-through with bitter-sweetness, this comes recommended for readers who like their comedy irreverent, and their fiction funny and driven by flawed characters they can root for.
Check out our guest blog post '10 Favourite Drinking Scenes in Books' by author of The Sadness of The King George Shaun Patrick Hand.
You know it. Your old local. Back in the day.
The stink of beer and piss, sticky carpets, nicotine stains on the ceiling, soggy bar towels, and the chance of a punch-up on a Saturday night – or anytime for that matter.
And in amongst it all an awkward 20-year-old, trapped behind the bar, with nothing to do but pull pints and wait for the next fag break.
Until he finds Amy. And life. And an escape – if he dares.
From West Midlands writer Shaun Hand comes a comedy novel set in a Birmingham pub, well Sutton Coldfield to be precise. Funny, poignant and unflinchingly honest, The Sadness of The King George captures the moment when the easy idealism of youth collides with the hard realities of conservative suburbia.
|Publication date:||14th February 2021|
|Publisher:||BAD PRESS iNK|
|Primary Genre||Humorous fiction|
Closing date: 11/07/2021
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
A cracking story and well told, with a bunch of characters who could easily have walked out of your local.
Call me shallow, but I'm a sucker for a book that starts with a bit of swearing. The opening scene, where our young narrator throws a man out of the pub, sets the tone for what is to come.
The King George is in Sutton Coldfield and, like all such pubs, it has its motley band of regulars from old boys supping their halves of mild to racist, misogynist bullies swilling pints of lager. This crew of misfits form the supporting chorus to the main story - that of our hapless barman.
Aged only twenty, he's fast becoming the one thing he never wanted to be - someone who goes to work, comes home, gets drunk, wakes up with a hangover and starts the whole sorry cycle all over again. He's feckless, self-absorbed, obsessed with his ex Gemma and always late for work, but he's also endearingly naive, shy and self-conscious.
When Amy, an attractive student, comes to work at the King George during her summer break, he senses the possibility of a new start. And as his 21st birthday approaches, he tries to work out who he wants to be and what it is that he actually wants out of life.
It's a cracking story and well told, with a bunch of characters who could easily have walked out of your local. The post-teenage navel-gazing is lightened by some truly comic set pieces, as well as some real pathos courtesy of the dramas in the drinkers' lives. The novel flits between the present and the past as we look back over his year behind the bar and learn what happened to end his relationship with Gemma.
The life of a young man revealed in a job he dislikes. His loves, his hates, but with a keen romance. The King George provides the backdrop to an ordinary life, but with an underlying sense of realism
An ordinary twenty year old gives an account of his life. Recalling the joys and hates of working in a job that does not fully satisfy him. Boring, not a bit, Shaun Hand has crafted a realistic tale for today. Characters are well drawn and each is realistic, with their ups and downs mirrored well within the narrative. Sometimes difficult to read, (use of basic language throughout!), it is well worth staying to the end. The title is a good play on words as there is sadness, or more precisely pathos, throughout.
A tale of our times that was a joy to read.