A warm, humane, and sharply observed tale of small town life that is by equal turns hilarious and moving.
Big Davey Jones is coming home. He's been gone almost 20 years now, but nobody's forgotten him. Davey's a local hero - his miracle birth as the seventh son of a seventh son brought fame to this little town and they've been grateful ever since. But Davey's home town has changed much in the intervening years. The traditional family business like Billy Finlay's Auto-Supplies and Calton's Bakery and Tea Rooms have been replaced with 'Exciting New Housing Developments!' and even a nightclub called 'Paradise Lost'.
The locals haven't changed much though. Bob Savory, who always had it in him, has made a million with his company Sandwich Classics, and he's branching out now, with an Irish themed restaurant on the ring road. Francie McGinn, the divorced minister at The People's Fellowship, is still trying to convert the town through his Fish-and-Chip Biblical Quiz Nights and his Good Friday Carvery & Gospel Night. And Sammy, the town's best plumber, is depressed as ever and looking for solace at the bottom of the whisky bottle.
Clever, touching and, above all, utterly spot-on in its depiction of small town life, Ring Road is confirms Ian Sansom's status as one of our most perceptive authors working today.
`The tone is part elegy, part satire, part howl and very, very funny. I laughed more times than I can remember over a novel for years ... Ring Road is well-observed and endlessly inventive, with all the messiness of a real place. Sansom's deadpan voice throws up jokes on every page.' Observer
`Sansom has a talent for demonstrating how the fantastic can grown quite naturally out of the familiar .. Few books published these days can fairly be described as charming and fewer still are the product of so generous an intelligence ... It's mellow, intelligent and very funny, a perfect antidote for melancholy.' Michael Moorcock, Guardian
`There is something fearless in the gaze Sansom turns on banality, and this novel is, in the end, a surprisingly gripping feat of coming to terms with what ordinary life is like.' TLS
`A wonderfully comic novel.' Daily Mail
Ian Sansom reviews regularly for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. His first book, The Truth About Babies, was published by Granta in 2002.