Eleven

Mark Watson. Scribner, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-0678-2
British standup comedian Watson's light stateside debut maps the ripple effects of tiny coincidences and everyday actions. Riddled with guilt for his involvement in a traumatic accident, Chris Cotswold leaves Australia for London, assumes the name Xavier Ireland, and immerses himself in other people's problems as a late-night radio host. Though the main objective of his off-air life is to remain all-around uninvolved, when he stumbles upon a boy being bullied one day, his reluctant intervention sets off a chain of events in the lives of several strangers whose stories unfold concurrently. Shortly afterwards, Xavier is coerced by his on-air sidekick, Murray, to attend a speed-dating event, where he meets Pippa, a down-on-her-luck but plucky cleaning lady he hires for a weekly sprucing. Pippa quickly becomes a fixture in Xavier's life and incrementally finds a much more important role that doesn't require a vacuum cleaner. Though the story sometimes bows too much to plot convenience, this touching tale about new beginnings has more than enough heart to win over readers. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-84737-969-6
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4516-0728-4
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-2-226-22138-4
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