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Odd Hours by Ania Bas

This is the debut novel from author Ania Bas. She grew up in Poland and moved to the UK in her early twenties. In writing this book she draws on her experience of moving to a large multicultural city.

The main character is Gosia, a young Irish/Polish woman living in London. She works in a supermarket as a cashier and dreams of a better life. The ‘man of her dreams’ is a customer, and her pursuit of him ( a complete stranger) forms part of the storyline.

All of the characters around her are slightly whacky. Her ex-boyfriend has abandoned her and taken up with another woman, and together they have written The Bulletproof Guide To Sorting Out Your Life. Extracts from the book feature as chapters throughout this novel.

Gosia’s flatmate is on a constant crusade to lose weight and keeps a diary which Gosia reads regularly. Her family all seem rather dysfunctional as well. Her father is living in the shed at his allotment while Gosia keeps giving him money to keep him fed (money which she can’t afford).

Gosia isn’t just a typical antsy young woman, she also reveals a hidden side. She spends a lot of time in the local library where she goes online and is part of a poetry writing group. Her poems give insightful observations of her own life and build another layer of depth to this story.

The cast of characters are all very funny. Bas herself says she wanted to create characters with unglamorous jobs, complex family lives and all sorts of backgrounds. She has certainly done this.

Bas has an interesting style. She starts each chapter by setting the scene. It’s a bit like a movie script. In fact this novel would translate very well to the screen. The chapters are all short and it makes a pacy read.

If you have ever lived in London in an ordinary suburb doing an ordinary job, then you will recognise a lot of the characters and the lives they lead. An entertaining read.

Reviewer: Rachel White

Welbeck Publishing


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