Thursday, 5 July 2018

Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou


Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou
Published in the UK by Cloud Lodge Books in April 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : from £7.33 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.27 / £3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Twenty-two-year-old Oscar is a lost cause. He roams central London, looking for love and distraction. But this isn't quite Bright Lights, Big City: Oscar is gay but feels disconnected from London's gay scene. He is naive and rootless, an emotionally stunted young man who lives in upscale Kensington with his foster mother, novelist Charlotte Fontaine.

But all of this changes when Oscar meets Tim, Charlotte's thirty-something literary agent with whom he becomes hopelessly infatuated. While he struggles to understand Tim's politics and his rejection of religion, Oscar's developing friendship with Tim affects a profound change, making him want to understand the world and his place in it.

Disbanded Kingdom is a brilliantly written 21st Century coming-of-age story, set against the emotive backdrop of the United Kingdom's breakaway from the European Union and its threatened rupture with Scotland.

I always love when a book about which I knew almost nothing turns out to be a gem and that is absolutely the case here. Disbanded Kingdom is even a debut novel as well - although its author has experience as a playwright which I believe stood him in good stead for the creation of convincing, snappy dialogue between his cast of Londoners.

On the face of it, Oscar is the sort of character I would usually be irritated by. He is passive, sometimes to the point of inertia yet, instead of muttering at him in exasperation (yes, I do know that fictional characters can't hear me!), I found I could easily empathise with him and enjoyed spending time in his company. I felt he was surprisingly immature for his age, but this is understandable in the context of the novel and Oscar's relationship with his foster-mother, Charlotte, is beautifully portrayed. His family and friends are equally entertaining and I love Loizou's eye for detail, both in people and places. I recognised the quirks of various London districts even though I don't get to visit as much as I would like.

Disbanded Kingdom is what I would describe as a Slice of Life novel. I think it also has coming-of-age aspects. For me, while I did like discovering Oscar's story and the potential for a relationship with Tim, the real delight was the London life swirling around them. People discuss arts, literature and politics in a genuine way and I particularly loved the variety of attitudes and personalities portrayed. I would happily read more of Loizou's writing and, if the opportunity arose, go to see his theatre work too! An excellent London novel.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Polis Loizou / Contemporary fiction / Books from Cyprus

10 comments:

  1. The fact that you could emphasize with such a passive character shows how talented the author is great review!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. It's such a great novel - I hope lots of readers discover this one :-)

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  2. Thanks for the great review. That sounds interesting.

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  3. Once in a while, I enjoy the slice of life style stories and rooting for the average guy/gal.

    Oh, and I mutter at fictional characters, too.

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    1. Glad it's not just me, OH gives me weird looks!

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  4. I often mutter at the real people I read about, and fictional ones too - you are not alone!

    I also appreciate when the author can make those arts/lit/politics conversations genuine, sometimes it is difficult and comes off as really forced, or just name-dropping.

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    1. Loizou does such a great job here, especially for a debut author. If I hadn't been told Disbanded Kingdom was his first novel, I don't think I would have guessed from reading it.

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  5. Oh wow, 5 stars! It's so awesome when you expect to dislike a character, but end up relating to them so much. ♥

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. Yes, I was initially unsure about Oscar, but soon got to like him

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