Synopses & Reviews
The Impartial Recorder
is an extraordinary book about ordinary people in a small town in the middle of nowhere. It may be the only funny book you will ever read about the weather. And the only novel that comes with its own handy index to help guide you straight to subjects such as "sushi, and Christian guilt," "adultery, brazened out" and "regretted bitterly," "snacks, between meals, inadvisability of," and the terrible "unfairness of having read Jeanette Winterson, and yet still having to work in an in-store bakery."
The Impartial Recorder takes its name from the tirelessly gossip-oriented local paper that reports on nothing in particular and on everything that's too interesting to have made a more dignified newspaper of record. The story kicks off with the return of a prodigal son, Davey Quinn, who is struggling to hide the fact that he hasn't done quite as well in the big city as friends and family have been led to believe. But that's only the beginning. The Impartial Recorder goes on to celebrate the heroic energies and comic failures of plumbers and ministers of religion, sandwich entrepreneurs and housewives, short-order cooks and owners of lingerie shops. In the tradition of Garrison Keillor and Roddy Doyle, Ian Sansom has given us a brilliant and hopeful comedy; in his words, a "book of profound inconsequence, as beautiful and moving as, say, the sight of an elderly couple standing outside a greengrocer's, trying to choose a cauliflower."
"A clever, affectionate poke in the ribs: just sentimental enough to be nostalgic, just sharp enough to avoid sentimentality....Sansom takes a wry look at an Irish village and discovers an exceptionally lively world." Kirkus Reviews
"A humane, big-hearted and sometimes devastatingly funny book." LA Weekly
"A wonderfully comic novel...Ian Sansom has an acute sense of the absurd, and does not allow sympathetic intimacy to stand in the way of some wicked barbs." Daily Mail (London)
"There is something fearless in the gaze Sansom turns on banality, and this novel is, in the end, a surprisingly gripping feat of coming to terms with what ordinary life is like." Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Few books published these days can be described as charming and fewer still are the product of so generous an intelligence. The Impartial Recorder is mellow, intelligent and very funny, a perfect antidote for melancholy." The Guardian (UK)
"Part elegy, part satire, part howl, and very, very funny. I laughed more times than I can remember over a novel for years." The Observer
Big Davey Jones is coming home. He's been gone almost 20 years now, but nobody's forgotten him. Davey's a local hero, his miracle birth as the seventh son of a seventh son brought fame to this little town and they've been grateful ever since. But Davey's home town has changed much in the intervening years. The traditional family business like Billy Finlay's Auto-Supplies and Calton's Bakery and Tea Rooms have been replaced with 'Exciting New Housing Developments!' and even a nightclub called 'Paradise Lost'. The locals haven't changed much though. Bob Savory who always had it in him, has made a million with his company Sandwich Classics, and he's branching out now, with an Irish themed restaurant on the ring road. Francie McGinn, the divorced minister at The People's Fellowship, is still trying to convert the town through his Fish-and-Chip Biblical Quiz Nights and his Good Friday Carvery & Gospel Night. And Sammy, the town's best plumber, is depressed as ever and looking for solace at the bottom of the whisky bottle. Reminiscent of Garrison Keiller's Lake Wobegon Days Ian Sansom's Ring Road is a warm, humane, and sharply observed tale of small town life.
About the Author
Ian Sansom lives in a scabby little seaside town in Northern Ireland. He reviews for the Guardianand the London Review of Booksand is the author of The Truth About Babies.