Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer

  • FishbowlTitle:  Fishbowl: A Novel
  • Author:  Bradley Somer
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  August 2015 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”  (publisher)

My take:  Fishbowl is the story of Ian the goldfish who finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime. He observes many goings-on along his way to the pavement. Each humorously titled chapter depicts a different scene on Ian’s trip.

As the description above notes there are all kinds of people who live in the building. What they need is connection to others so as not to feel lonely. I loved the various ways Somer showed that need in his characters. Not only the need but then actually taking the risk to reach for something more in life.

All this plays out in a quirky, funny, sexy, heart-breaking, and ultimately uplifting story of a brave goldfish named Ian. I’m so glad I had the chance to read it. Adding to the enjoyment of the novel is the clever visual of Ian’s plunge in the margins of the pages. When I finished reading the book I flipped (for lack of a better word) the pages quickly and laughed, knowing the outcome.


Bradley Somer_credit Nenad MaksimovicBRADLEY SOMER was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in Canada and holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals, reviews and anthologies. His debut novel, Imperfections, published in Canada, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year. Bradley currently lives in a little old house in the city of Calgary, Canada, where he works on his writing projects and tries to ignore the wild growth that his backyard has become.

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17 thoughts on “Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer

  1. Sounds like a quirky way to go about introducing characters in a book, but sounds like it had a warmth to it. So hope Ian never made it to the pavement!

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