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Boundary Road

"This slick slice of contemporary fiction offers affecting insights into modern, multicultural London aboard the Number 13 bus in the company of a diverse cast of finely-drawn characters."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A tale of two halves, told through two principle characters during one journey on the Number 13 bus, Ami Rao’s Boundary Road unveils pretty much all facets of humanity as the novel routes to a heart-stopping climax.

Both open, thoughtful, warm-hearted characters who bear the scars of past experiences, Aron and Nora’s journeys offer unique windows on the lives of Londoners as they interact with other passengers aboard the bus, while musing on their own lives and sharing insights: “Human behaviour, Nora thinks, is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. You get all the blues lined up, only to see that the yellows are no longer in place.” 

Beginning with Aron’s point of view as he rides home from his first day in a shiny new job, his stream of consciousness thoughts on previous jobs, and how an ACL injury ruined his promising future as a professional footballer, are utterly riveting. Aboard the bus, Aron chats to strangers from all walks of life: “looking at people’s faces, listening to them talk, hearing their stories, imagining their lives... is for him part and parcel of partaking in the human condition – this to him, is life.” Similarly, Nora notes, “It is funny that all these abstract thoughts come flooding into Nora’s head from just a fleeting glimpse of a sight seen through the window of a moving bus. But sometimes that’s all it takes, a flash, a whisper, a shadow, a whiff.”

When Nora boards the bus, self-conscious in her work uniform, looking like “a lady’s maid in some 1930s movie”, she sits next near Aron. With his bright-blue eyes, he’s “the most unusual-looking person she has ever seen”.

Written in infectious, haunting style, Aron and Nora’s paths cross again after they’ve disembarked the bus. The ending comes as a brutal shock, with a sense that new journeys are beginning, with uncertain trajectories. What a blast of storytelling brilliance this is.

Joanne Owen

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