Home > Book Reviews, Books > mister roberts – alexei sayle

mister roberts – alexei sayle

Mister Roberts

I read this as part of my Book Club at the Nag’s Head in Walthamstow.  We had a very nice meeting last night – was good to catch up after Christmas.

It’s really difficult to know what to say about this book, because it doesn’t really feel like it’s a completed story.

It’s pretty short (only 192 pages in paperback format – although I was Kindle-ing it!) and that seems to be part of the problem.  A lot of the ideas within it were really good, but simply didn’t feel like they were explored enough.

Being such a short story, it’s difficult to give a summary without giving away half the story but, it is set in Andalucia, in a village where everyone knows everyone else, and within a group of a few characters who are all ex-pats.

It centres around a 13 year old English boy who lives with his young mum.  One night, a strange craft crashes into the deserted hills near the village and he makes a fascinating discovery.  After the initial excitement, his mum seems to ruin his enjoyment of his ‘gift from the heavens’, using it instead to feed her own reckless lifestyle.

The story really does have it all – aliens, gypsies, ex-pats, robots, animal communication, bullying, doppelgangers and violence for example, but it feels like none of the elements are explored to fruition.  This kind of left all of us thinking “Oh!” at the end and a little unfulfilled.

Worth a read just for the sheer surreality of it – I could see it being a really fun film, but again, the storyline would need to be padded out a bit!

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