How can you say no to a bit of John Boyne? This is how I fared with his latest offering.
The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a ‘national treasure’ (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.
Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path.
I’m still pretty new to John Boyne, having previously only read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart’s Invisible Furies. I loved those books and blindly went into The Echo Chamber expecting more of the same. However, John Boyne is no one-trick pony.
The Echo Chamber is a witty, satirical story that pokes fun of contemporary topics last like cancel culture, while also opening an conversation about these same topics that get people riled up. The book also has a wonderful selection of well-thought out characters – even if they are totally obnoxious.
Yet, The Echo Chamber wasn’t for me.
While I understand why many people have enjoyed this book, it was a bit too much for me. The characters and the satire were too much for me, while the storyline wasn’t enough. I was waiting for something big to happen and, when I realised half way though of wasn’t, I lost interest and started skimming through.
I can’t recommend The Echo Chamber but I can recommend John Boyne. This experience won’t stop me from picking up his other books though.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.