Here's the synopsis:
"Samuel sat on the toilet and began interviewing himself."
A teenage boy is in love with a girl and the radio. Set in England during the 1990s, the novel tells a story about dealing with adolescence and life, including the 'lunatic fringe' and 'lonely, upset, frightened and confused people' who call up radio stations around the country.
The calls detailed in the novel are based on real calls to radio stations the author heard.
‘To the Asylum' refers to the reply Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio, received from the Italian government, upon the request for funding his experiments into radio transmissions
Here's an extract:
Samuel was in the habit of listening to the radio in bed too. One evening, a one-line regular caller managed to get through to the switchboard about eleven. Samuel had just got under the duvet. He was lying on his stomach, elbows propping up his torso, earphones in. The presenter, Mark Williams, said into the mic, “Good evening caller, what’s on your mind?”
It happened so fast. It’s not easy to dissect this. The Big Bang was slower. The Big Bang dilly-dallied. But it felt as if this call, on this particular night, providence had pre-determined it. From that very first phase fourteen billion years ago, as space-time expanded, the first particles emerged, the quark-gluon plasma cooled, the emergence of large structures, stars, galaxies, superclusters, the cosmic-evolution, the Ur supercontinent, Pangea, the ancestral gene pool, Coronacollina, the Paleocene epoch, humankind, the pyramids, Excalibur, Genghis Khan, Columbus, Shakespeare, Halley’s comet, David Schwimmer, karaoke – it all led up to this moment, this moment in time, as the universe was collapsing in on itself, as the Sun was slowly expanding, as weather patterns caused environmentalists to panic...at this moment in time, the caller uttered:
Can I pleasure your wife?
The caller hung up. Silence followed. And the silence was long.
Here's a review:
A surreal '' Jonathan Coe ,Rotters Club '' style journey of schoolboy adolescence intertwined with the growing up in the background of a love and fascination into the weird , wonderful but sometimes disturbing world of 1990's UK Talk Radio stations...the pure essence of the Human Zoo lives on in the pages of this book.A must read for all fans of '' conversational '' Talk Radio.
Gorgeous and funny
There are some disturbing people out there calling radio stations. This is the backdrop to a story about a teenage crush and dealing with the trials and tribulations of school.
Anyone brought up in the 90s will appreciate this world of cassette tapes, Spice Girls and New Labour, with a sense of humor quintessentially English.
Here is where you can buy it. There's a Kindle version for 99p:
Duncan Barkes kindly helped and I sent him a copy, which he said he'd pass onto Tommy.
Thanks for any support. Peace.