Elephant – David Grant

David Grant’s novel Elephant is described as a “hilarious comic novel of male self-discovery.” I began reading it with a completely open mind, as I’d never heard of the author, or indeed, the novel before, which I think is often the best way because then you have no preconceptions before you start reading.

I was immediately interested when I started reading because the narrative voice of Jamie Gallagher is just so appealing. He is a self-effacing man who fears he is having a mid-life crisis. He’s not that keen on his job, he has a loveless marriage and two grumpy children who he has no relationship with other than the fact they share his DNA. Understandably, Jamie is discontent, drinking heavily and despairing of his rapidly expanding waistline.

Then one day, something happens to really make him sit up and take notice. He is fired. Terrified that his slowly mounting debt – courtesy of his snobbish shopaholic wife – will now start spiralling out of control, Jamie decides to turn his life around. He re-writes his CV and ends up reminiscing about times past, people he used to know, and more to the point, the one woman that he thinks could have been the love of his life, if only he hadn’t let her go…

Jamie eventually secures a job interview but it is at St. Andrew’s in Scotland, meaning he has to travel the entire country to get there. So he decides to make it into a proper road trip and he takes a trip down memory lane, meeting old friends, visiting old haunts and generally tying up the loose ends of his past in the hope that it will improve his future.

This is a great book, and I’ll be looking out for more by this author in the future. Despite the fact he’s a bit of a plonker and doesn’t always make the most intelligent decisions, Jamie Gallagher is a really likeable character and you’ll find yourself rooting for him throughout the book, hoping he sorts things out and gets his life back on track. A really funny read, I’d recommend this to anyone who loves this kind of humorous fiction, whether you’re young or old, male or female. Fantastic. I’d enjoy reading a sequel to Elephant to see what happens next.

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