cover image Fishbowl


Bradley Somer. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-05780-8

Somer’s (Imperfections) confident second novel combines a rare glimpse into the mind of an adventurous goldfish with ambitious musings on the nature of time and space. Set within the confines of a street and an apartment building—the Seville on Roxy—the action begins with Ian the goldfish free-falling toward the sidewalk, not knowing where he’s headed (his mantra is “having a plan is the first step toward failure”). During his descent, he sees flashes of the lives being lived inside the Seville. The narrative deftly switches from Ian’s point of view to that of the residents; each vignette is described several times, from the eyes of the different characters involved. Under scrutiny are the romantic entanglements of Connor Radley, Ian’s owner; the ire of Connor’s girlfriend, Katie; the dilemma of Claire the shut-in receiving a knock at her door from a pregnant Petunia Delilah; and the secret life of Garth, a construction worker with a mysterious package. Enjoyable touches of farce and wry asides abound, underscoring moments of reckoning in eccentric, yet deeply human, dilemmas. (Aug.)