A Novel

Book - 2015
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"A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He's longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents. There's the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building's super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become. Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, "An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.""--
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, ©2015.
ISBN: 9781250057808
Characteristics: 296 pages ;,22 cm.


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LoganLib_Adults Jan 05, 2017

Fishbowl by Bradley Somers is a unique novel which focuses on the issues faced by a number of inhabitants living in a 27-floor urban apartment block. Many books and films have intertwined stories with multiple plots playing out simultaneously, but what makes this book original is that the plots unravel as an adventurous fish jumps from his bowl, and plummets to the pavement 27 floors below! The concept is very clever, keeping the readers engaged throughout. There are definitely no ‘slow bits’ in this novel. Highly recommended.

Aug 18, 2016

Great concept, delivered well. Multiple characters that seemingly have only an address in common, and the adventure of a goldfish. Fun book.

Jun 15, 2016

Unique, captivating, charming and funny with undertones of deeper thoughts about life and living. I loved this book! Ian, the goldfish and all those who live in the building, go through their lives in such close proximity, but with such different outlooks and experiences. It's really a neat and satisfying read.

CatherineG_1 Feb 15, 2016

Somer weaves a wonderful story of an apartment buildings' residents through the eyes of Ian, the goldfish who has left his bowl, going down twenty-seven stories. The writer goes back and forth between his characters, giving us their back story with the reader waiting anxiously to know the outcome. Also enjoyed how Somers brought us through all the emotions of life and death through the story's characters and Ian. Well crafted book. Loved the writing style. Really cute touch of having Ian, the goldfish literally falling down every other page.

SPL_Melanie Sep 26, 2015

Full review found under Summary tab -- first appeared in the Stratford Gazette Sept 24, 2015


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SPL_Melanie Sep 26, 2015

Ian the goldfish has escaped his fishbowl; unfortunately the fishbowl was on the balcony of the 27th floor of the Seville on Roxy. Ian is free-falling, and while he falls he sees vignettes from the lives of those apartment dwellers whose windows he is passing.

The story moves between Ian’s short attention span and longer sections expanding on the lives of the characters. Connor Radley, Ian’s owner, is a bit of a cad – he and his multiple girlfriends interact while Ian plots his escape; Katie is his long-term girlfriend whose anger illuminates much of the story. Claire, an agoraphobic tenant, meets her pregnant neighbour Petunia Delilah for the first time as Petunia is knocking on doors looking for help when her labour comes on early; Garth, a construction worker, hurries home with a mysterious package, and encounters the overworked superintendent who is just trying to fix his sink. Ian’s fall only takes a minute, but while he falls a lot of stories are shared.

The tone is arch and quirky, with quick asides to the reader, and a stylized storytelling that reminded me somewhat of the omniscient narrator in tv shows such as Pushing Daisies. Somers doesn’t mock his characters, though – they are all drawn with affection, even when their own behaviour is perhaps not the kindest. If you’re in the mood for a modern, urban tale of unexpected connections and disconnections among a group of disparate neighbours, Fishbowl delivers.

Ian the goldfish’s continued recollection that he is falling, with his short fish memory reminding him regularly, is echoed with a charming touch: if you fan the pages like a flip book you can watch Ian travelling down the margins. Note: wait ‘til you’re finished reading to try the flip book or you may perhaps find a spoiler!

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