Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 42119
date submitted 12.05.2011
date updated 14.06.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Travel, ...
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Baggage Carousel

Dave Ocelot

Nobody goes anywhere without baggage.

 

Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with a free-spirited Australian girl seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction.

But when she doesn't respond to his e-mails, the only direction he's heading is down...

"The Baggage Carousel" is a darkly humorous novel detailing one man's relentless pursuit of unhappiness and a £36 loan.

 
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, africa, anger, animals, australia, backpacking, betrayal, buzzards, canadians, cats, comedy, contemporary, dark, dassies, death, demons, dogs, famil...

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Dan: Ubiquitous Flashback Sequence

I was seventeen years old and working a Youth Training Scheme in a plumbing supplies warehouse on the outskirts of Doncaster.  Friday Flyer, early finish.   Me and two other apprentices, Tommy and Hywel, caught the Little Nipper bus into town.  We made a beeline for The Railway Tavern, a rundown old pub with a half-blind landlord, known for its tolerance of underage drinkers.

Hywel was the youngest and the smallest, shorter than any sentence I could use to describe him.  As such, it was his practice to head to the bar first, confront the issue head on, brazen it out rather than skulking sheepishly behind us bigger lads looking guilty.  Not that it made much difference in The Railway, where the fat, gamey old landlord would top a gripe water bottle up with vodka if you so desired it.

Something caught his attention in the backroom and he paused on the way.

"Heyup, Roberts!"  he cried. "Looks like your mam's in!"

I turned to see her, asleep on the pool table at two o’clock in the afternoon.  She was snoring lightly, an eyebrow twitching intermittently.  One shoe fallen to the floor, next to a deserted and upturned raffia shopping bag full of bottles.  A lone tin of Tesco Value soup had made an abortive roll for freedom and now nestled undetected under a corner pocket.  Mulligatawny.  Bangs of lank hair smashing into her silica gel mouth.

Hywel didn’t know.  He was from the other side of Doncaster.  The marginally better side. We had only met through work.  He had meant it as a joke.  But Tommy knew, he and I had grown up together.  I looked from the prone form on the table to him.  His face burned postbox red, to offset the gangrenous tint of mine.

A group of Council workers in hi-vis vests were huddled around the fruit machine in the backroom.  One of their number was returning from the toilet, still packing himself away.  You could peg him as the jester of the group all too easily, a belled hat traded in for a back to front baseball cap, a paint spattered crude slogan on his t shirt.  One who would sport a Disney Store tie for a day at the races.  As he passed the pool table, he deftly flicked the hem of her crumpled skirt up at the back, laughing and mock-running to the safety of his crew, who had obviously dared him to do it.

He didn’t need to run.  She slept right through it.

Mission accomplished.  He had successfully humiliated an alcoholic.  Bravo, sir.  The other men greeted him like he had just shot a tiger. But their uproarious cheers and laughter slowly died down into silence and dissolved into wistful head shakes as they regarded her still unperturbed frame. 

Someone’s mother. 

Not mine.  Not anymore.

"View any better from your side lads?"  the Joker asked, losing his audience, looking to us.  Working the room now.

From their position at the other side of the table they couldn’t see what we saw.  The cellulite, a slight, blueberried rash at the top of one thigh.  Gunmetal grey nylon knickers caked with spots of dried blood.

My hand instinctively closed around a heavy pint pot, my glare fixed upon the highly visible buffoon playing to the court.  Tommy’s mammoth hand closed on top of mine.  He leaned in close and whispered:

"Let it go, Dan," he said. "It’s the weekend."

We both knew all too well what he meant.  Police cells are a lot noisier on a Friday night, their inhabitants drunker and angrier, their floors never any warmer.  Then he turned to Hywel, raising his voice.  "This place is fucking rank.  Let’s get some tinnies and sit by the canal.  It’s nice out."

Hywel was still staring over at her, with a look of complete revulsion on his face. "Yeah," he said limply, "Vamos."

We made our way toward the door, but just before we slipped out, Tommy headed towards the backroom.  Approaching the stilled life he stopped, taking her in for a moment, with an embalmer’s appraising eye.  With the kind of startling grace that big people often possess, he gently removed the dreamcatching strand of hair from her mouth and brushed it back against her cheek.

I remembered then how light and fine her hair had once been.  Chestnut strands of it falling through my shrivelled fingers like ambitions as she carried me down the stairs, after bath time, when I was a small child.  I was swaddled in warm towels, drawn from my favourite hiding place.  The airing cupboard, rumbling heart of the house. Dried gently in front of the living room’s gas fire. 

Arms up, little soldier.

That done, Tommy smoothed her skirt down and fixed the labourers with a threatening stare that shouted:

Leave. 

Well. 

Alone. 

He was a big lad for his age, butting past the six foot barrier even then, and slowly growing just as wide through a steady diet of Spar Pick n’ Mix and sparring with pricks and Micks.  His sweet tooth contrasted sharply with a sour disposition directed toward anyone who got on the wrong side of him.  He was maybe the one seventeen year old in the world at that time who could stare down a saloon full of navvies.  Joker returned to his friends, and their chastened gazes dipped first to their shoes and then back to the bandit’s mesmeric light and noise.  The fat man seated behind the bar, however, watched these events with interest over the top of his half-moon glasses.

"Do you know her?"  he barked, even his voice fat.  "Cos I’ve got a pool tournament tonight and she’s slavering all over me fucking baize."

"Nah," I called out, already halfway through the swing door.  "We don’t know her."

 

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Susan oops wrote 46 days ago

hi fun read so far will be back for more congrats x

FloraColora wrote 101 days ago

Hello Dave,

I feel like I'm on a blind date with the riddler or nothing to skype home about.

I'm only into chapter 8 but loving this book. It's such a breeze to read. Of course I'm intrigued to discover what happened to Amber, why did she disappear and is it going to have a happy end. Good descriptions of Dubai. I've never been there and don't really have any intention of going, not now anyway. I must remember to be nice to the cyborg when I next travel, and I'll remember not to underestimate the fellow traveller with the backpack and scruffy clothes. Not that I ever did.

I'm definitely marking this one because I can say I read it before it came out in print.

Cheers,
Flora Colora

Glacis wrote 102 days ago

Hi,

This is my first time on the site, I've upload my book yesterday The City Gyms. I would appreciate feedback and like to read your book.

A. Piccarreta wrote 110 days ago

Dave Ocelot,

You write with exceptional creativity and I can't help intensely hating your main character because he exploits women sexually. While it disgusts me to read about him I would like to know how the story ends.

A. Piccarreta
Mumbai Mazai

Sam Barclay wrote 117 days ago

Hi Dave,

I just wanted to say that your book is exceptionally funny and, of course, satricial. I genuinely hope you keep number 5 spot over the next few days and make it to the ED for the end of March. I also hope HC take it on.

Best, Sam

AU Gonzales wrote 118 days ago

I had a hard time adjusting to the writing style at first, but when I did, I found the story extremely entertaining. The sort of humor you employ is surprisingly brilliant. The way you write the inner monologues is just a job well done. The characterization was very well executed as well. I wish continued success for this book and I wait patiently for your following masterpieces.

Ellytkam wrote 119 days ago

I think you have a writing style that brings out the manage.....this fiction could as well have been written about a non-fiction story.... about biography or memoir???!! something like that.

Ry Guyiam wrote 125 days ago

Very entertaining reading, good job!

VM Gautier wrote 128 days ago

Coming back with more comments later, but by god I'd buy this. Why? Because I'm hooked from the first paragraph. Strong.

Seven Everson wrote 132 days ago

Hi Dave,

No point commenting, really. You're on the desk. But you've done it by writing a truly amazing book.

Jesus God, if you don't become a writer, become a stand-up comedian instead - you're brilliant!.

Hard to fault.

xxxSeven Everson
Ashes of Eden

lizjrnm wrote 136 days ago

Of all the manuscripts I've read on this site this was the funniest by far. You are a brilliant writer.

Ellie S Lee wrote 158 days ago

I love the off-beat quirkiness of this, the sharp almost throw-away humour but underneath all that I think there’s a sensitivity there as the story develops and we learn more about Dan and Amber.

You have the ability to change from almost flippant to verging on the shockingly profound. Lines like ‘Not Neville, never Neville no more.’ casually thrown in made me smile as I read. It reminded me of ‘Wild Rover’ and my under-age drinking days, made me want to stamp my foot before the ‘never’ or bash something against the table four times.

And then, in complete contrast, there’s ‘The men were so old they sometimes had pieces missing. Eyes, legs, lungs, prostates, wives, consciences... Reduced men, men reduced to this. They travelled there to find another piece, to put themselves back together again.’ Phwoo, gasp of admiration at both the observation and the way it’s written. Great lines.

I like the form of The Baggage Carousel, the way you switch between Dan and Amber so we see things from both points of view, their foibles and insecurities. I felt involved, trying to read between the lines, to second guess and I cared what happens to them. Your title is fantastic and suits your book perfectly on many levels - we all go round and round, ever more battered waiting for a kindly soul to recognise and rescue us.

Your book came highly recommended to me by two of my favourite people here and I can quite see why. Good luck.

Ellie

vee8 wrote 166 days ago

Been on my WL for ages, so it's about time I did something about it.
A cyborg wearing foundation. Yeah, I've seen those types in airport terminals, I know exactly what you mean.
Love the description of the baggage shuffling off.
You don't use the traditional "Speechmarks." A new style, one I'm not familiar with, but once used to, is very effective.
Dan's cynicism is very well conveyed, character development here is highly polished.
Facinating first e-mail. I'm getting a very strong feeling of obsession, like a cross between 'Fatal Attraction,' and 'Play Misty For Me.' He's certanly verbose, but amusingly descriptive with it. Credit to you for showing him in that manner, while not coming across as overly wordy in your own right.
His backpack committed suicide! Great line! Now I'm actually feeling sympathy for a bloody backpack!
Amber sounds interesting. The bit about being familiar with the contents of the kitchen drawer gives a hint of menace. Gotta keep an eye on this one. I'm guessing the grand finale is not going to be so one-sided.

This is a taut, edgy piece of work. Humerous, yet with a barely concealed menace, a dark shadow over every chapter. At the moment I can't even guess who is going to emerge the victor in the final confrontation, I only know it's going to be messy!

High stars from me!

Vee8
Daughter of Chronos.

kabiba wrote 173 days ago

'The Baggage Carousel' review - chapters 1-16

This is such a treat - written in the form of emails from a besotted man, Dan, to Amber, who doesn't seem to care about him. The alternate chapter form, of her experiences in her travels, then back to his emails, works well. I have read up to chapter 16, and will happily read more.

The laughs were often at the hilarious end of the spectrum. I loved the part where his backpack comes off the carousel in Dubai, having been ransacked by officials, his camera stolen. Then he names it Patty Hearst. Priceless, and laugh out loud funny.

At the same time, you have a great knack for description and analogy, weaved in with the gags. Underneath the laughs is a serious story, about a man with anger issues, sociopathic tendencies, and difficulties finding employment due to violent incidents in the past.

Amber is a character I haven't quite worked out yet - she seems kind of cynical and shallow, but there is probably more to her character that I haven't seen yet. I also really enjoyed all the observations on travel - from the tedium of flight, with it's excruciatingly bad movies, to the vulgar tourists in shopping malls, the strangeness, and everything in between.

It was also a good commentary on how others react to our travels, their ignorance, and their desire to stay in their comfort zones.

This has been a true pleasure, and I look forward to discovering more about Dan's dysfunction. High stars and watchlisted.

Kate
Stone Circle

Raymond Crane wrote 189 days ago

Very impressed, this is definitely in the post-modernist category, I forget some of the bursting expressions which delight, as much as their seafood. You capture a complete scene , a complete mood, and style of living which I know to be true to life, and the provocative punctuation is exciting.

I hope you can review my effort, which is more old fashioned, I hope that you don't take my age against me, and I hope that you can last until the last chapter, which may take a little effort on your part. best wishes R

secretbanker wrote 192 days ago

Hello

Ah ah ah this made me chuckle out loud. I sincerely hope it will go places-- aimed straight for the heart! he he, I would be very grateful if you perchance take a second to read my own work
Thanks
HD

Temulkar wrote 193 days ago

Hi Dave, sorry its taken me a couple of days to get to you.

The SP is brilliant and teh LP really works one of the best I have read on the site.

I read up to chapter 8 (in auth)youve really caught the zeitgeist of the modern nomad backpacker.

I thought using the emails was a really clever way of getting inside Dan's head and naming the bag Patty Hearst actually made me laugh out loud (always a good sign). There is some very dark humour running through it which really appealed.

Dialogue was very real I liked the uncluttered punctuation, I actually wonder if I would get away with it stylisticly but sadly doubt it.

This is a rare find for me, I doubt I would have picked it up normally and now Im pretty chuffed I did. Not only a really good start to the story but a style of writing that is so unfussy and clean Im really bowled over.

Ive given it six stars and a watchlist and it's actually one I can come back to and keep reading. My shelf looks like it will get freed up a bit over the next month or so and I will reserve a spot on it.

I want to emphasise I dont do reciprocal backings etc, I want to put it onto the shelf cos it deserves to be there.

Regards Jemahl.

Chris 1 wrote 193 days ago

This isn't what I thought it would be. I imagined it would be a kind of 'On the Road' in a modern setting, seeing the underbelly of life off the beaten track. As it turns out, it's a kind of long distance love affair played out across the ether with episodic scenes that are shot through with a finely observed cynicism that is very funny.

There was a three year period in my life where I used to get a six month job so I could go off hitch-hiking around Europe, looking for kicks, sleeping rough, or at anyone's house who would take me in. A great, irresponsible life. A proper taste of freedom, as illusory as it may have seemed.

I think this is what Dan is looking for, yet, behind the cynicism, he appears to be looking for stability with a woman (Amber) who appears, in her outlook, his soulmate. As far as I read, they weren't yet properly physically (I nearly wrote 'fizzically') together. Yes, they both seem 'fizzy' individuals, wherever they are, they experience 'stuff', they have views.

I love the pace of the book - the short chapters, the flipping of locations, and from past to present, back home visiting a demented gran, then having a scrap with an American over a toasted sandwich (my favourite bit by the way), then we're hurtling down to earth in a parachute in Africa and we get touched up by A German. (That's where Amber meets Dan. Pertinent, entertaining points made about the conventional travellers asking whether there was wi-fi at the ancient ruins.

I read as far as Ch 17, presumably, at some point, they are going to be re-united in Australia? I like the use of e-mails, they tie together and ground us somewhat, allowing Dan to show his feelings (a little).

Highly enjoyable read. Genuinely put a smile on my face. Will put it on my shelf in a few days when there's space. Oh, and five stars. Fuck it, I'll give it six.

Dawn Wessel wrote 204 days ago

Brilliant...funny...brilliantly-funny...sad...

JohnDoe wrote 207 days ago

I'm thinking about enrolling you in my mothballed course: How to get Desk in one easy step.

tallott wrote 284 days ago

I like the slant of how you write and it is emotive and striking in style. I think your vocab and expressions sometimes are a bit unusual and complex but some may like that. I would not myself use a polite 'f' word but know some risk it nowadays even tho they do not use language like that themselves, as a reflection of how culture is.

I will read more of this. I do not know since my rank slipped, if you want to help me and comment on my work, which has some useful but minority comments on it so far and rated 5, my novel Caribbean chocolates being more attractive I feel than one I got put in a library, Intentional Malice.Grateful for any views, Tracy Allott site user

neilmacvicar wrote 292 days ago

Ok,I've read as far as chapter six and fair enjoying the story so far. I felt that Amber and Dan merged a wee bit,especially in their sarcastic quipping. I hope this isn't deliberate and I've missed the point.Anyway,it's easy to read and the threads are keeping the pace going. I like that. I'll read on some more when I get time.Thanks just now,Neil MacVicar,AMAZZOFF.

neilmacvicar wrote 292 days ago

Excellent opening line.Reading on.

Ornithograph wrote 327 days ago

To: Amber/Amanda
From: Concerned Stranger
Re: Personal growth and safety concerns

Hi, Am! I have been reading your personal thoughts; as well as the emails of the guy you met in Africa. First, I would like to congratulate you on getting rid of what's his name, Norville, Neville, whatever. Good riddence. I will never eat corn-on-the-cob again, without feeling a rush of admiration for strong women.

Second, I would like to congratulate you on NOT bouncing from norbert-whatever into the arms of an even more dangerous self-involved loser doomed to mistake your neck for their mother's, or your face for the thirty-third person who pissed them off 12 years back. Good show at being a better, stronger you!

Thirdly, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you to GET THE HELL OUTA THE HOUSE NOW, THE NUTCASE HAS MONEY FOR A PLAIN TICKET AND IS VERY VERY ANGRY.

______________________________________________________________________

To: Dan
From: concerned stranger
Re: getting over it

It is strength to move on; and it is strength to hold on. Anger is cheap strength; but a miserable master.
You aren't in charge; the anger is. You aren't carrying your emotional baggage in a back-pack. It's in a 18-wheeler truck cargo box while you are strapped to the radiator as a decorative after-thought.

You are unforgiving in thought and deed to anyone you don't want service or sex from; except one holy sacred cow: you.

You never tried to help your mother when her husband died; nor offered her a hand as she sank into grief.
Ya just plain pissed off everyone who reached out to you; and you are careful that the only people you offer respect to, are DEAD.

And yes, I am saying this honestly, and for your own good; and because I am on another continent and anonymous more-or-less. But also I am armed so don't try it. Also I am not at home.
Also I have a dog.

__________________________________
To: Dave Ocelot
From: pleased reader
Re: The Baggage Carousel

Wow. This is good writing. You got someone who is only comfortable reading about dragons, magic rings, spaceships, dark lords, magic doors, and duels on hilltops into reading, chapter by chapter, a terrifically paced and expressed story that is exactly the kind of emotional violence that sent me screaming from 'Who's afraid of Virginia Wolf'.

I want to read the ending; even if I dread reading the ending. Suddenly dark lords and dragons are dull.
Huh. Good job.



Iva P. wrote 344 days ago

It's awesome to meet real talent. Nothing to criticize at all. Just plain good work.

JamesDavidson wrote 356 days ago

The Baggage Carousel showcases a real talent at work - the writing flows so easily that you can't stop reading it, with a laugh-out-loud moment guaranteed on every page.
The array of metaphors and similes in the text show the imagination of the writer in full flight, as in this example, a personal favourite chosen out of countless possibilities:
'Men are like radiators: good to cosy up against, bad to be handcuffed to.'
The two main characters, Dan and Amber, are both fully-formed and have their own distinct voices. It's hard to believe that they're not real people.
Also pleasing is the balance between the kaleidoscopic gallery of exotic locations that feature episodically out of Dan's memory, contrasted against his home soil of Doncaster, with its particular character and history.
All in all, we come away from the work with a feeling that something of a generation has been caught, between the oppressive influence of our birthplace, and the possibilities of travel that are so great they can lead to a feeling of weightlessness, vertigo even.
This is a novel that deserves a wide readership, and I am confident it will find it.

zap wrote 356 days ago

Clever, witty, funny and full of sparkly images. I enjoyed the first 5 chapters and shall read more. Backed.

Ame

Billie Storm wrote 371 days ago

Dave

I looked at my review all those 400 hundred or so days ago, and return to see if I can detect what the changes are in this revisit of Baggage Carousel.
I still think, that your brilliance and verbosity is top heavy, that the sheer torrent of observation requires a bigger canvas/ subject, and a such reckon you could still lose some more of those lines, without losing anything.
The narrative is so sharp and detailed, that I feel it could collapse beneath the weight of its own desperate perspicacity. (phew)
The forlorn anger remains and is a very powerful draw, plus the opener seems to have tightened up, and am still stung and amazed by your rapid fire appraisal of life on earth.
Further in, there's the passage of Northern dialogue, which could almost be a play in its own right. I just think that you could strip out much of these inner conversations and still have a solid and excellent piece of writing.
Have always thought that this book enjoys or suffers from over empathy with its readers, if that makes sense, as if you're sympathising with an ineluctable view/state of the world. Is it because the views are so spot on that
I'm kept from moving forward with story and they're sidetracking? Or because of a innate sadness to the piece, that I stop laughing and think, hang on.

There's so much talent here, that I feel if it's missed in this one work, then it will be missed.
I've had you on and off the shelf for months, and you're one of my favourite writers, so there.

Okay?
x

Mik wrote 382 days ago

Read this in a previous incarnation and it's still one of my favourites.

Get it out there you lazy fuck.

dodo whip wrote 432 days ago

Punchy and deliciously witty. There's also a nice understated tenderness towards the characters which makes them immediately an intimate part of one's reading. Really good work.

Newton wrote 441 days ago

Well, I'm back :)

This is very clever writing. It draws the reader in and takes them through a gamut of emotions. One minute we're laughing the next pulling back with disgust and then if that wasn't enough, we're suddenly reduced to tears.

Dan is a wonderful character. Full of floors - in his persona - in other words 'real, honest'. And Amber, who could not love her? Dan's stories regarding his mother grabbed my heart and the change in him is crystal clear when he speaks of his grandmother.

This is a journey for the reader. Your writing should be adorning bookshops not stuck on a page somewhere on the internet. I hope you're doing something about this? If not, then that would be a shame and besides, I want to know how it ends!

Best.

Sam

Newton wrote 443 days ago

I kinda liked your short pitch. 'Tis true, I fear. I read the first chapter and became captivated by Dan and by your writing. I'm going to make this my 'Sunday read' *smile*. I'll come back and tell you what I think. In the mean time have the last space on my shelf because you made me smile. You never know, you might enjoy the view and decide to stay. That's if the owner agrees, of course. ;)

Sam

Lauren Grey wrote 446 days ago

Dave, I just had to stop in for a quick read, and by the time I got to, ‘Only the bloodied shards of a fragmented heart that I will press to the carotid artery of the girl who smashed it.’ I knew I would love it and wasn’t disappointed.

There were so many humorous phrases that stood out in the nine chapters that I read, a couple of the ones I thought to jot down were, ‘I wonder if I’ll be forced to intermediate in the event of an in-flight coup, ...a potentially extremist bag, on a blind date with The Riddler.’

The emails from Dan were a great insight into his character and what he feels for Amber, I loved them. You definitely have a way with words and are a master at creating rich visualizations for the reader. There was only one phrase I stumbled over and that was your description of Amber’s hair as ‘dirty blonde’. I know that certain shades of blonde are described as such; however, when reading it, and the fact that they were in bed, made me think more of the state of her hair as being dirty rather than the colour of it. A small nitpick and nothing really just wanted to point that out as an observation from a reader’s perspective.

This was most entertaining. I do not expect a return read; this was merely for my reading pleasure, and I will continue to read further on. High stars

DerecJ wrote 466 days ago

oops - typo in my last comment - look = looking or browsing

DerecJ wrote 466 days ago

Great writing. I recently rejoined Authonomy and have been look for a couple of days and this is the first book I've come across that does it properly

August74 wrote 552 days ago

Very much enjoyed the first 8 chapters and plan to read more. I really like Dan's emails to Amber, I can already see that they are going to take a turn and I'm looking forward to the descent. Your writing seems effortless, particularly the descriptive stuff. I loved the picture you painted of Dubai. The humour doesn't try too hard and you have adeft touch.
Thanks for a pleasurable hour.

August74

Andrea Taylor wrote 566 days ago

Funny and engaging. The only bit I felt was 'wrong' was the 'I,myself,' right at the start. At school we were always told that was a no no. (Only need one of them). However, as it is so amusing, it doesn't really matter so much (so why did I bother mentioning it? Who knows? It might be the glass of wine at my elbow!).
I very much like this and will WL it for further reading and high stars from me!
Andrea

evermoore wrote 579 days ago

Dave...You sure do have an amazing wit. And your grasp on humanity alone, is stellar. While I haven't finished the book, I had to comment now. Your imagination has made my own sit up and take notice. I loved how you use words to create visuals of the depth of feelings...and my dimples hurt from grinning. Six stars from me for that alone.
Linda

Seringapatam wrote 584 days ago

Only read a small part as I want to read as many as I can. I loved this mad wacky story and have to say you have done so well with it. I wish you luck with it
Sean

EllieMcG wrote 614 days ago

It’s been a long while since I’ve read anything on here. But this is the one I want to get back to first. So here goes:
Chapter 7:
The solitary flickering flame bit in the second sentence – doesn’t honestly make much sense.
It’s really weird seeing old people strapped into their beds watching TV in nursing homes. Like Wall-E come true.
Chapter 8:
That same guy is still sat there on his own (should be sitting there)
Chapter 9:
“broad” crit: At this stage, the timeline disconnect is starting to get a little confusing. I’m honestly not sure where/when Dan is in this chapter. I realize you’re stringing the story together, but I’m starting to wonder if either you should have timeline headings or place headings at the top of each chapter to indicate what’s going on.

Chapter 10/11/12: didn’t find anything I didn’t like. In particularly, I learned what recidivist meant, and I like learning new words. It also feels more storyline-y.

Chapter 13:
I like this chapter. I do. It feels a little off though – I was really looking forward to seeing how Amber and Dan’s relationship came about, and then it came back to him back in England. I suppose the hardest bit is that it’s actually quite jumpy – I think largely because chapters are shortened in autho format. I think your time on each segment (Dan in present, Amber in past) should be longer, so that it feels less jumpy. Just a thought.

Chapter 14:
I really, really enjoyed this chapter. And “when stupid people are too stupid to realize they’re being stupid” is a true fact of life.

And that’s all I’ve got time for. Hopefully helpful.
E

Helen Laycock wrote 616 days ago

Dave, I've read the first seven chapters (my, there are a lot of chapters!), so I still have a way to go before I get to the action. This looks as though it could lead to romance, but maybe not before a few obstacles are thrown in the way.

I like your writing style. It's very direct and your observations are astute and witty. The chronology is keeping me on my toes as the focus shifts from place to place, time to time and person to person.

The only thing that I would change is the dialogue. The use of speech marks would differentiate it more clearly from the narration around it.

Other than that, I look forward to reading more.

Helen
Glass Dreams

R. Dango wrote 626 days ago

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time and now I finally managed to read a few chapters. It's fun, wacky and readable. I've passed through Dubai several times but I couldn't quite come up with the right words to explain how it is and when I read your description, I just had to say,' Yes! that's what I felt!' I enjoy your cool funny description of things and the story line. But are you sure it's not a love story? Well, I just have to continue and see if it is not. Great work!

R

pickarooney wrote 630 days ago

There are a few books on Authonomy I wish I could hav e written. This is one of those.

Superb writing. Don't change a thing. Except two dodgy apostrophes.

alcook wrote 633 days ago

Hey Dave,

EllieMcG recommended this to me, and I'm happy to say that I love it. I have to quit reading for the moment; so I'll go ahead and post my comments.

The writing is very good. The narration is quirky and fun and sort of dark all at the same time. Quite wonderful. I'm happy to say that this is a recommendation I was glad to read. Very good work!

Here are my detailed comments on the chapters I read so far:

Autho Chp1:
- “seven months, all my former…” that should be a semi-colon
- “fifty five” should be hyphenated
- Comma after “remove it”
- It’s a bit confusing to write dialogue using dashes instead of quotation marks
- “the family who were at” “were” should be “was”
- “tokenistic stab, the…” should be a semi-colon
- Comma after “considers my words”

Autho Chp3:
- No comma after “you’re a tourist”
- “chickens feet” you need an apostrophe in chicken’s
- Should be a period after “I’m limbo dancing now”
- Period after “koalas you gave to me”
- “internal flight” sounds a bit weird – that might just be me, but “domestic flight” sounds better, I think

Autho Chp 4:
- I think it would be better to say “at Dubai International Airport” – touching down “in” an airport sounds a bit off
- “deep seated” should be hyphenated
- Should be a period after “I’ve always despised mine”
- No comma after “bag better now”

Autho Chp5:
- Comma after “acclimatise”
- Okay so this is just my opinion, but it seems a bit weird to have this is present tense. Mostly because the previous chapter, I’m pretty sure, takes place after the time in Cape Town, and this chapter is right before it. However the one that happens later in time is in past tense, and the one that happens earlier is present. Present tense makes me feel like it’s the most recent action in the book, but it’s not. So it’s a bit confusing…

Autho Chp 6:
- Comma after “home” in the first sentence
- “smudge faced” should be hyphenated
- “cake shop” should be hyphenated
- “stripy suited” should be hyphenated
- No comma after” perambulatory meals”
- hyphenate “jewel encrusted”
- no comma needed after “Burger King”
- period after “in Basra now”

Autho Chp7:
- semi-colon after “when I arrived”
- no comma after “around for a while”
- comma after “places I’d visited”
- “Like she were a truffling pig” were should be was, and I would say “truffle pig”

Good work!

Anna-Lara
Throne of Gwindelm

AndrewLeonHudson wrote 643 days ago

This is good, the first thing I've read on here that I can honestly say I'm reading without feeling the need to comment on at all. It's funny, and you have a clear and personal voice as a writer. Well done.

Tod Schneider wrote 643 days ago

Six stars and watch listed. Deserves shelf space when I can make it.

Tod Schneider wrote 643 days ago

This is delightful! Your sense of humor is first rate, as is your writing, and the two together make an excellent combination. Your descriptions are consistently fresh and entertaining, and your characters great company. Including the robot. Nothing to pick on here -- I can't believe it took me all year to give this a good look. I could have sworn I'd checked it out many moons ago, but then that's my memory for you. Truly great writing!
Best of luck with this.
And if you'd like to take a peek at the Lost Wink, please do.
Cheers,
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

EllieMcG wrote 660 days ago

(oh right- Chapter 1: a potentially extremist bag. I couldn't figure it out, but then I did. Ignore that).

EllieMcG wrote 660 days ago

The Baggage Carousel.

What went through my head in the first two sentences: Fuck you. I can't write that well. Now I have to comment on and potentially critique this?

Chapter 1:

- a potentially extremist bag

Chapter 2:

- I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 2

Chapter 3:

- should The Vuvuzelas be capitalized? I don't know
- chickens feet - chicken feet? chickens' feet? (this is about as good as I can come up with at this rate - goddamn nitpicks)
- 'a re-fried being' (I wish I was this good)
- The second-last paragraph feels totally random, and purposefully political. Then again, this might very well be an expose of Dan's character, so it's hard to say. It's very funny though, but if you need to cut something.

Chapter 4:
One yellow flip-flow lolled from its gaping mouth like a feverish tongue - I'd say something about using a 'like" simile here, because I'm trying to be extra-harsh, but holy fuck that's a crazy good description and I'm jealous.

"Her new name is Patty Hearst" - I just died (but I also feel really smrt for getting that reference).

Oh, on a critical note - you haven't really mentioned Amber at all in the last two chapters, and isn't she kind of the reason for this trip, so doesn't she require at least a passing thought?

Chapter 5:
- Her brow furrows and the resulting pressure closes her eyes again... this could be made more clear, to be honest. I had to read it a couple times.
- I'm guessing there's a time jump (backwards) from the last two chapters. Not a bad thing, but this is a guess, and therefore I'm wondering if it needs to be clarified? Can't tell yet.
- good chapter ending.

Chapter 6:
By the way, I was just in Dubai airport. That place is so weird.
Ok, I'm not critiquing this very well. It could be that the first 5 chapters are just too well-edited, or I'm all zoned out for the day. There's just not much I can say that would make it better.
But I've got chapters 6-11 up to go over this week. I believe you wanted a review of the later chapters anyway. So hopefully I'll have some more useful stuff for you there, and will be able to give you more of a broad overview.

Great stuff so far. It will be on my shelf next time I can kick someone off (assuming you're into getting shelf space).
Ellie

Sara Stinson wrote 661 days ago

Hi Dave,
I am reading The Baggage Carousel. Read some last night and some today. Trying to keep up with Dan here. He is one unique individual. In Chapter Thirteen, somebody messed up and called him stupid. Chapter Fourteen. We have the police again. I think he just does not like stupid people. Chapter Fifteen -- Dan is giving Facebook a try. He has more friends on the impersonating/made-up page. Sad. I learned a new word--Biped. Chapter Seventeen -- Connected with Dan here. As a child, he felt protected among the towels which wrapped around him. (Loved the tooth!) Many children and adults having a calming affect when something is wrapped around them. They make the heavy vests now for calming. (Dan needs a vest.) It pushes down on the shoulder also. Gives that hand on shoulder feeling. (Yes, he needs a vest.) Oh my, Chapter Eighteen is telling me he has been in prison all this time? Or did they go visit one? (I may be confused, but I think I know he loved his dad.) Okay, it is thirteen days later. Dan is writing to Amber. ( Is this why you have the toaster? You want to ask it about the stimulus package, don't you!)

Do I look up -- Humanity? Or Antipodean? Sometimes I think some have no clue of Humanity.

I have to say...the paragraph you have written about the pups littering the beach. Your writing here is phenomenal. "bull seals braying and squaring off to each other like gypsies at a wake...then by night the jackals hone in like malevolent Wombles to take out all the trash."

Amber has hurt Dan like the Pith hat did the seal. Dan sees all the hurt in the world. The hurt to animals, himself. He sees how the system of the government is not fair in many cases. Dan is now starting to associate Amber with all the turmoil is the way I interpret the way the story is going. The end of Chapter Twenty...Your use of words at the end is great.

Dave, I am stopping here for today. I will return soon. Your characters are definitely strong. I have not figured out all that is happening. I think I do...then I get lost. Dan seems to try so hard. Then things happen. The mind of a Sociopath, or is he? He thinks he loves. He has the Poor Behavioral control. I will have to read further.

I do know your writing skills and use of words are extraordinary! I sprinkle you with 6 stars because of your craft!
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones