Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Abide With Me by Ian Ayris

Right from the start this novel was a delight to read. The author’s razor sharp perception sees all. He relays every little nuance in the lives of his characters and gets to the very core of family life. Ian’s writing is so grounded this could be a biography, it’s so believable and realistic. The novel is written in the East End dialect from the perspective of John Sissons as he grows up. We see how his attitude changes life gives him blow after blow. At times this can be a heartbreaking novel but also totally and utterly compelling, inspiring and hopeful. Alongside John’s own story there is Kenny who lives across the road. To John, and just about everyone else, Kenny is a strange alien creature that he cannot understand. When he finally discovers the truth behind Kenny it shakes him to the very core.

Within the first five chapters I had laughed out loud and come close to tears as the revelations tore at my heartstrings. A coming of age novel about friendship and everyday tragedies. The story is told in such an authentic voice that you feel you are right there with John Sissons. As a child of the seventies I found all the references from the period were absolutely spot on and brought my own nostalgia to the fore. I was reminded just what it was like going to school in the seventies. If you remember the Queen’s Silver Jubilee parties, Choppers, staying out all day, jumpers for goalposts or have ever had a special football away day then this novel is for you.

Ian Ayris puts the reader through the emotional blender with this novel but you’ll hang on his every word. Just when you think the novel can’t get any darker there are hints at redemption and hope. However, they seem impossibly far away and distant.  Anyone who has ever felt any passion for football or indeed life will be brushing tears from their eyes. A novel that would make a fantastic film or TV drama but frankly could any director do such a beautiful story justice? I doubt it.

Genre:  Literary
Publisher:  Caffeine Nights
Format:  E-Book Novel / Paperback
Rating: 5/5


  1. Ian's is a bright, bright talent. I think we're watching the birth of a super nova in AWM. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.