editor's choice




If much-loved literary characters were to come to life, that really would be a dream come true for most book lovers. Not so much so for Charley Sutherland, the protagonist of New Zealander HG Parry’s fictional debut, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep.

Since childhood, Charley has had a special power, one that he hasn’t quite been able to master: he can summon fictional characters into the real world. Yet it’s not as fun as one might suppose, particularly for his older brother, Rob, who’s always been overshadowed by his precocious sibling – and always seems to be left cleaning up his messes.

When the literary characters Charley invokes, including Dickens’ Uriah Heep and several Mr Darcys, cause mayhem and begin to challenge the existing world order, it’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them. And then there’s the matter of Charley’s arch nemesis, who possesses similar such powers, but seems far more interested in using them for more nefarious purposes.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is a great exploration of literature through an interesting plot premise, Parry creating a wonderfully absorbing tale that’s multi-layered and beautifully formed. Through her prose and clever plot, she highlights the power and importance of words and our imaginations in bringing them to life. The characters Charley conjures up are shaped by his own perception, interpretation and consciousness, just as we all, as readers, interpret books, words, characters differently, influenced by our own mores, values, social constructs.

Highly original, this book is an utter delight. Read it. Do.


HG Parry | The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep | Orbit Books | January 2020 |

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and to the publisher for sending a book proof. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: Juan Villoros’ The Wild Book’; ‘A Dark Matter’;Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; ‘Marnie Riches’ Backlash’; ‘Russ Thomas’ debut Firewatching‘; ‘Nathan Blackwell, the Sound of her Voice’;Jason Arnopp’s creepily entertaining Ghoster‘; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Rememembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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