The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
UK Publication: August 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
This ARC was provided by Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Doubleday (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
One word review – Controversial!
Synopsis from Goodreads: What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds – and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept.
The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a ‘national treasure’ (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.
Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path.
Powered by John Boyne’s characteristic humour and razor-sharp observation, The Echo Chamber is a satiric helter skelter, a dizzying downward spiral of action and consequence, poised somewhere between farce, absurdity and oblivion. To err is maybe to be human, but to really foul things up you only need a phone.
My Thoughts: Wow that was one wild ride. I am not sure if Boyne’s intention when writing this was to make is so hilariously funny but that was the effect on this reader. The book was written in retaliation to online trolling Boyne received on Twitter regarding a previous novel and boy does he tear social media and trolls apart, along with writers who use ghosts, public personalities who are not squeaky clean and almost everyone in between.
Every member of the Cleverley family is unlikeable in their own unique way (with the exception of Nelson) and I spent most of the book torn between shock at their latest outrageous actions and amusement at the way they handle events.
This is satire at is finest no holds barred, totally irreverent and bound to offend.
Conversation today while I was reading “have you finished your funny book then?”
“You’re not giggling all the time anymore”
Some of my favourite quotes:
“And I absolutely adore literature. I read six or seven books a year.”
“Well, a novel must have interesting sentences that gather together to make fascinating paragraphs. I believe very strongly in the idea of the chapter – that’s crucial.”
“Well, that’s age appropriate, isn’t it? What do you expect, that I’ll have sex with a woman in her fifties? If I wanted to do that, I’d just go to bed with my wife.”
“There was something hilarious about being called a London Elite by the current Prime Minister, he thought. What was next, the Queen criticizing his inherited wealth and privilege?”
“It’s not that I love him any more than you or Nelson’….’Although, in a way I do.”
“No, Michael Jackson came up with it. And you know things are bad when you’re taking romantic advice from Michael Jackson.”
“You could resign in solidarity with me’
After a respectful pause, George, Lord Husbery and even Margaret burst out laughing in unison”
“So what’s your name? he asked.
‘Rebecca,’ she replied. ‘Like the first Mrs de Winter.’
‘You don’t get the reference?’
‘I’m afraid not.’
‘That’s disappointing. I hoped you would. Somehow I thought you’d be a reader.’
‘I’m not really,’ he replied. ‘But my cousin Rachel is.’
Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who are not easily offended, those who can appreciate satire and those who think we spend too much time obsessing about social media and getting likes.
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