Thursday, March 25, 2021

Nothing Man, by R. J. Gould

R.J. Gould, March 2021

Neville Watkin's life has never been spectacular, but over the last year or so, it's taken a real turn for the worse. He and his wife, Stella, have been distant for years. Now, she has moved out, and is divorcing him. Then he's laid off from his job at the bank--where he's been working since leaving school, thirty years ago.

He really, really doesn't need the accident he has not long after, backing out of a parking spot, into the minivan of a woman and her two kids. The woman is yelling at him for his carelessness, and he can't really defend himself. Especially once his attempt to voice any defense at all ends in him passing out and collapsing at her feet.

He wakes up the next day in a hospital, not very badly injured, and receives an unexpected visitor--Laura, the woman whose car he hit. His life is about to take a truly strange change of direction.

Laura invites him to her house; they work on the insurance paperwork for their accident together. Neville figures that will be the end of it. It's not.

After finding that he is very familiar with all the same old albums her mother likes, she starts encouraging him to get out of his funk and open up to the world. She introduces him to her mother, Caroline. They convince him to use his current free time and severance package from the bank to take a vacation for the first time in, well, ever, it turns out. They get him to buy a more current and more lively wardrobe. They encourage him to get outside more--and a newspaper article about a volunteer conservation group that's looking for more volunteers catches his interest. 

Caroline invites him to dinner. 

It's a strange, funny, heartwarming journey.

Neville starts to rediscover some of the joys and passions of his youth, including the guitar.

The conservation group doesn't see Neville as the boring guy with the job that is being taken over by computers; they see him as the guy who shows up for every conservation project, and has a background in budgeting and finance.

He discovers along the way that he also has, when doing something he enjoys, interesting and creative ideas.

There are some rough bumps for him along the way, of course. There are also some rough bumps along the way for me as the reader, but my advice is, when you hit them, keep going. It's worth the trip. Neville learns more about himself, more about those around him, and that even a bad mistake isn't necessarily all there is to a person.


I received a free electronic galley of this bookk from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to read and review my new novel, Lis - it is much appreciated. I'm glad you recommend it and continue to be fascinated by the difference in perceptions between US and UK readers.