Sunday, June 24, 2007

Town House by Tish Cohen

Scored this one from the nice people at Harper Collins. Incidentally, for those who keep up with the industry, HCP has recently acquired rights to most Hyperion and Miramax books so we can look to an interesting future. Confusing,perhaps, because I think Fenn is keeping some of the titles they had before.

Oh well.

On to one of the most charmingly eccentric experiences of my reading life.

Jack Madigan is agoraphobic. ( Don't look it up, it means he doesn't leave his house ) Severe panic attacks and the constantly replaying images of a troubled childhood in a carton ( under the strange eye of his rockstar father, Baz ), keep Jack from stepping beyond the threshold of his crumbling if gorgeously historic Boston Townhouse.

Living off the royalties of his father's songs ( think our friend from Hornby's About a Boy ) his ailment has so far not been a drastic problem.

When the royalties start dwindling, however, and a scatterbrained real estate agent named Dorrie is the line between his comfort-zone and the scary world outdoors, Jack is in more than a pickle.

The crumbling house is populated by a melange of quirky eccentrics: Jack, Dorrie ( thinking the odd little fish from Finding Nemo is apt in this case ), Jack's hippie son Harlan and the little girl who crawls through a hole in the wall and joins Jack each morning at the kitchen table for coffee.

It is a breezy, fresh and well-paced book that screams the best of summer reading.

The house, with its tricky dumbwaiter, and drywall dents and gashes ( from Baz Madigan's many guitar rants ) is as much a leading character as our endearing agoraphobic.

Prepare to be stirred with compassion and empathy for a man whose whole world is set in a four-storey townhouse, charming throughout its drafty discomfort and cat-sized rats.

Prepare also to be reminded of the best Nick Hornby novel: not intrusively, but by a friendly comparitive nudge.

I hope to read more of Tish Cohen's work in the near future !


Kailana said...

hm, this didn't interest me by the blurb, but maybe it might not be a bad read. I read Madame Zee (which I owned my own copy of) and I am waiting for a copy of The Ladies Lending Library through the mail. I might read this one sometime now too...

Unknown said...

Great review, Plant. I agree with your take on the book: it is a great read, and I look forward to the film. apparently it has been optioned and they are shopping for a director.

I can't wait to read more Tish Cohen (an inspiration to all of us 30-something moms who harbour dreams of writing for fun and profit).