web site hit counter The Drowning of Arthur Braxton - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

Availability: Ready to download

An urban fairy tale from the acclaimed author of 99 Reasons Why. Arthur Braxton runs away from school. He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse. He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is an unflinching account of the pain and trauma of adolescence and of how firs An urban fairy tale from the acclaimed author of 99 Reasons Why. Arthur Braxton runs away from school. He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse. He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is an unflinching account of the pain and trauma of adolescence and of how first love can transform the most unhappy of lives into something miraculous. It is a dark and brooding modern fairy tale from one of our most gifted writers.


Compare

An urban fairy tale from the acclaimed author of 99 Reasons Why. Arthur Braxton runs away from school. He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse. He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is an unflinching account of the pain and trauma of adolescence and of how firs An urban fairy tale from the acclaimed author of 99 Reasons Why. Arthur Braxton runs away from school. He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse. He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is an unflinching account of the pain and trauma of adolescence and of how first love can transform the most unhappy of lives into something miraculous. It is a dark and brooding modern fairy tale from one of our most gifted writers.

30 review for The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lowenna

    After watching a YouTube video, I was dying to get a copy in my hands. I had really high hopes after hearing great things but after finishing the book, felt somewhat unsatisfied. In other words, my thirst for this book wasn't quite quenched. I enjoyed the first part of the book where we follow Laurel' s journey, warming slightly to her character. The reader then goes on to Arthur's story. This was when my avidity began to lessen. I found Arthur to be very much a stereotypical teenage boy. Althou After watching a YouTube video, I was dying to get a copy in my hands. I had really high hopes after hearing great things but after finishing the book, felt somewhat unsatisfied. In other words, my thirst for this book wasn't quite quenched. I enjoyed the first part of the book where we follow Laurel' s journey, warming slightly to her character. The reader then goes on to Arthur's story. This was when my avidity began to lessen. I found Arthur to be very much a stereotypical teenage boy. Although I felt that the author had conveyed his character well through her writing and his inner monologue, I found the writing style, at times, rather exasperating. The use of words such as 'probs' and 'maybes' was,to me, rather irritating. Furthermore, the amount of swearing in Arthur's story was, in my eyes, quite unnecessary. However, I do think that Caroline Smailes has used the structure of text to her advantage to portray characters in different lights. As each character tells their story, the variety of ways in which Smailes structures the text makes the read varied and more interesting. In conclusion, I believe this to be a cleverly written book that leaves the reader baffled and perplexed. I would recommend it to older teens who like dark, weird and very unique reads.I plan to read this again and think that once you have been shocked and mystified by this book once before, you will be able to appreciate how well written it actually is. Approach with a very open mind...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Okay so before this review gets complicated, its one of those books where you love it...but it is a little bit fucked up. You sort of think to yourself "am I allowed to like this book because its so messed up?", and my answer is yes, yes you can because this truly was a spectacular read! There's been so much buzz around this novel that I gave in and downloaded it from the Kindle store (mainly because I couldn't wait a few days to order the physical copy because I'm demanding and lazy-oops!). This Okay so before this review gets complicated, its one of those books where you love it...but it is a little bit fucked up. You sort of think to yourself "am I allowed to like this book because its so messed up?", and my answer is yes, yes you can because this truly was a spectacular read! There's been so much buzz around this novel that I gave in and downloaded it from the Kindle store (mainly because I couldn't wait a few days to order the physical copy because I'm demanding and lazy-oops!). This book carries with it a dark plot and attached with some awfully messed up characters. Sadly I don't want to give too much away of this book as its too good to spoil! I love the historical context to this book, where its basically set in old Victoria bathhouses in the north of England- and the back of the book it does tell you a great deal of the superstitions that arose during this time period. You first meet Laurel who gets a job at The Oracle (name of the bathhouse), where she works alongside three "water healers". All three are unique in a sense that they're messed up people with a great deal of spiritual beliefs. What keeps you intrigued with this book up to the very end is what happens to Laurel, you're given a taster of who she is and then you're left on a cliffhanger which isn't wrapped up until all the loose ends begin to tie together and you're enlightened! The book is set out in third person with each character giving their perspectives as well as starting from the past and ending with the present, you begin to wonder why each chapter tells you a name of a person and when they've gone missing- the outcome may not be what you're immediately thinking to begin with! You meet Arthur who is troubled teenager, bullied in school and with a dysfunctional family. He finds comfort in visiting The Oracle as he finds love with the beautiful naked lass, Delphina. Their love story isn't for me like any other, its tragic and yet so wonderful all at once. Some of you who have read this book maybe thinking- "Has she gone mad? This book was so sad!" Yes it is a sad book but the sadness in a way is happy. I'm not entirely sure that makes sense, maybe I've gone mad from reading this book? Who knows! But it works out to be a sad but happy ending to an extent. All I can say is, I can't begin to express how well written this book is and Smailes to me is such a creative writer. She kept me glued to this book throughout and despite the heartbreak and corruptness of her characters, this book is simply beautiful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    I`m so confused? I guess if you like one dimensional characters, prose switching to script format for no apparent reason and "twatting, cock, I sound so gay" being repeated a million times you`d give it five stars? I`m so confused? I guess if you like one dimensional characters, prose switching to script format for no apparent reason and "twatting, cock, I sound so gay" being repeated a million times you`d give it five stars?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick Davies

    There were parts of this I really liked - a strong sense that the teenage participants in this ambitious modern fairy tale were convincing in thought, voice and deed. Some of the descriptions of love and relationships - hostile, platonic and more - were incredibly poignant too. Overall though, I found it all a bit too weird, too much fantasy and too dark a counterbalance of deeply unhappy personal lives. My disbelief wasn’t possible to suspend long enough to really enjoy this - though it will st There were parts of this I really liked - a strong sense that the teenage participants in this ambitious modern fairy tale were convincing in thought, voice and deed. Some of the descriptions of love and relationships - hostile, platonic and more - were incredibly poignant too. Overall though, I found it all a bit too weird, too much fantasy and too dark a counterbalance of deeply unhappy personal lives. My disbelief wasn’t possible to suspend long enough to really enjoy this - though it will stay with me some time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    I’m between three and four stars. This was one weird book. But I kind of liked it. Actually I’m at a total loss, I’m going to have to think about it and mambo dogface for the banana patch.....

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Review by Beth This is a novel which will take your breath away and stay with you for a very long time. I finished it last week and I still keep bringing sections of it back and thinking about what could have been. Despite the title the novel is more than just Arthur’s story – it’s put together in layers and flips forwards and backwards in time giving the reader glimpses of the whole picture which is finally drawn both beautifully and tragically together at the end. All is not what it seems as the Review by Beth This is a novel which will take your breath away and stay with you for a very long time. I finished it last week and I still keep bringing sections of it back and thinking about what could have been. Despite the title the novel is more than just Arthur’s story – it’s put together in layers and flips forwards and backwards in time giving the reader glimpses of the whole picture which is finally drawn both beautifully and tragically together at the end. All is not what it seems as the urban grittiness of reality meshes with the spiritual world of the water healers and the mysterious Delphina who completely takes over Arthur’s world. His mind moves from his terrible school, his broken father and his absent mother to his impulsive need to spend as much time as is physically possible in the abandoned, near derelict bathhouse, to be near Delphina. This novel works because it’s a mash-up of possibly the most urban, modern landscape you could imagine in Manchester with the ethereal and mythical qualities brought out by the bathhouse, the history of the water healers and their tales. A further layer comes in the retelling of several classical Greek myths – Castor and Pollux, Medea and Jason and Apollo and Daphne. All tales were beautiful but I think the retelling of Medea and Jason through Maddie is the most hard-hitting and took my breath away. Smailes writes in a way which just connects with me, her style just fits with the way my brain works and it’s something which means I believe in the characters deeply and have an emotional involvement which is very rare for me. This novel will make you cry, take your breath away and I encourage everybody to at least give it a go.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bergrún Adda

    I was really looking forward to reading this and the story sounded interesting. But after reading this I wouldn't recommend this. You would think that I might connect even a little bit to the main character and not think everything he says is offensive, stupid and obviously written by a writer who thinks teenagers are stereotypes. I didn't like the writing. You do not use "that's when I..." three times in one paragraph, or two times in one sentance (and this happened throughout the whole book). I was really looking forward to reading this and the story sounded interesting. But after reading this I wouldn't recommend this. You would think that I might connect even a little bit to the main character and not think everything he says is offensive, stupid and obviously written by a writer who thinks teenagers are stereotypes. I didn't like the writing. You do not use "that's when I..." three times in one paragraph, or two times in one sentance (and this happened throughout the whole book). The plot and setting were maybe a little bit interesting, but this is definitely not a book for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mona

    This could have been such an eerie, climatic modern fairy tale about love and abuse. It could have been quoted as genius among those extraordinary that change the archetypes of literature. When I close my eyes I see the water oracle, hear the trills of magic Maddies voice, the splash of Delphina's performing her beautiful pirouettes. But sadly such a wasted potential. Let me use the fully allowed language of the author : Its utter fucked up twatting bollocks! Shocking, dark, hopeless, nerve - wra This could have been such an eerie, climatic modern fairy tale about love and abuse. It could have been quoted as genius among those extraordinary that change the archetypes of literature. When I close my eyes I see the water oracle, hear the trills of magic Maddies voice, the splash of Delphina's performing her beautiful pirouettes. But sadly such a wasted potential. Let me use the fully allowed language of the author : Its utter fucked up twatting bollocks! Shocking, dark, hopeless, nerve - wracking. Wow! The drowning of AB gave me some language lesson being a non English reader. Was it all neccessary? I guess, to a certain extent. Is it our future of literature trend to shock, leave you angry and disgusted? Or is it a trick to sell better, stay in your head for longer? I guess it does those three well enough. So kudos to that, and also for being well written, thought through to keep you turning the pages to discover how ends this absolute "fuckupdness". Is the whole society these days shifting towards collective guilt to find solace in imaginary suffering or what? My biggest concern is that according to the story, the likes of Arthur, Laura, Maddie have no place in a real world. They do not fit, so end confined to imagined reality, living happily ever after in " the other world"? Is this what they deserve? So basically if I am being bullied, sexually abused, depressed, or for some other reason do not fit in, my only way out is to find myself " the other world"? And maybe take a rope, cut my veins, jump off the cliff? Is that what's suggested here? Clearly, it is,or thats at least what I felt after reading last sentence. The, in some way happy ending refers too much to something imagined and unreal. Arthur's father in the end experienced "shaggy" happiness, so could his son. But " maybes " its the level of happy for an outcast Arthur. That is kind of sad.I certainly do not suggest happy ending here, as this would obviously sound like a farse. Perhaps more realistic finish of this whole bitterness would at least give a glimse of hope. Unless what constitutes happiness is subjective meaning to everyone. I am aware this is not a reading for everyone. The title itself gives enough clues to stay clear for some. But still what BA actually want to say? Portray abuse, mental issues, guilty getting away with their crimes? All those characters imposing evil, except for Tommy Clarke and his merry bunch are actually adults. The three water healers to me represent passiveness to something that could have been prevented. To me the kind serial killer Silver is the worse out of them all.His explanatations and sorry for being gutless, buffling words " Run for your life!" simply do not reveal enough for those poor souls to change the course of their sad fate. Yes, I know, he says : "whats written within our future cannot pass us by"? Does it really? Or is it simply a way to show the crime of responsible adults, and those who turn blind eye to the wrongdoings of others. I guees and hope thats the intention of the author. Are Laura and Arthur really a landmark of todays teenagers? Many would disagree with the author's vision. But perhaps it is indeed an averaged picture of a young adult these days obsessed with facebook and almost nothing else. All Arthur is thinking about when looking at beautiful lass Delphina is his "boner", touching her tits etc. Well, I get it, thats his hormones playing like a harp on his manhood. Is that all there is in him? Kinda disappointing. The seriousness of some characters' stories is a bit flat to me. The author allows enough pages for Delphina or even quite shallow Arthur to dwell on certain things, but leaves a couple of paragraphs to describe the crimes and whys of others. All these abuse stories sound a bit like taken from a tatty magazine cleverly smuggled within the mistery and poetry of the book. In my opinion the overall message of " the drowning of BA" is not clear enough , especially for a young adult. It left me absolutely heartbroken. There is plenty of distressing stories in literature regarded as good. They equally shockingly describe evil of human being, eg " A thousand of splendid suns" by Khaled Hosseini that leaves a spark of hope at the end of portrayed "fuckupdness". Or if not hopeful, at least genius of literature " Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, an absolute must to read for everyone. PS, I have a little suggestion here. If the focus of the book was just ONE of those employed disturbing stories, if it was skilfully and more subtly entwined within the beauty of such an original setting, the Drowning of Arhtur Braxton could have been much better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    The Oracle is an old bathhouse in a northern seaside town, believed by the locals to have magical properties. Three 'water-healers' work there, and the book opens with the narrative of a teenage girl named Laurel, who has been employed there as an assistant-cum-receptionist. Some years later, a boy called Arthur Braxton breaks into the building - now dilapidated - while attempting to escape from a group of classmates who are bullying him, and meets a beautiful girl who is swimming in one of the The Oracle is an old bathhouse in a northern seaside town, believed by the locals to have magical properties. Three 'water-healers' work there, and the book opens with the narrative of a teenage girl named Laurel, who has been employed there as an assistant-cum-receptionist. Some years later, a boy called Arthur Braxton breaks into the building - now dilapidated - while attempting to escape from a group of classmates who are bullying him, and meets a beautiful girl who is swimming in one of the pools. Arthur is the butt of his so-called friends' jokes, has no money and struggles to look after his mentally ill father, but when he meets Delphina, his life is transformed, despite the odd circumstances of her life and her strange group of friends. The Oracle is in danger of demolition, and Arthur finally finds himself with a purpose: to save the building and make Delphina happy. However, mystical forces surround the place, and while they may protect Arthur from those who seek to harm him, they will also make his mission more difficult. From my holiday notebook: Odd story, but creative storytelling. Billed as an 'urban fairytale' which is accurate, but was perhaps a little too 'urban' for me. Told mainly in dialect which I don't mind but it seemed a bit inconsistent at times and the constant swearing (and Arthur going on about his bloody hard-on all the time) got on my nerves. Also, the narrative voices weren't different enough from each other, although I did like the different narrative techniques the author used. The main problem was that I couldn't believe whatsoever that Arthur's feelings for Delphina could ever have been love. They were both so young and his dominant feeling towards her was obviously lust, based almost wholly on her looks. I did wonder if this was what you were meant to think, but coupled with the complete failure of literally every other relationship in the book, it's giving a very bleak message if so. Overall I enjoyed this but was expecting a lot more as I've seen quite a few five-star reviews. Additional notes: I can't say I disliked this story, but I had quite a few reservations about it. I was particularly troubled by the depiction of sex, sexuality and relationships: I felt like there were quite a few disturbing situations (Martin's abuse of Laurel, the fact that Arthur's motives towards Delphina were so blatantly sexual, the odd and sudden thing with Arthur's dad and 'Stella') yet these weren't really resolved as part of the story's conclusion, so I had no idea what (if any) message the book was trying to convey. I also couldn't remember how it ended without going back and checking, which might be because I've read so much within the past week, but also seems a decent indication that I didn't enjoy it all that much. Crucially, I didn't like Arthur and I felt sure Delphina deserved better, so I wasn't exactly invested in their relationship. I did like the surreal details of the plot - the Oracle itself and the characters who lived there, especially Kester and Pollock - but I'm afraid I have to disagree with what seems to be popular opinion: for me, this was no more than average.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mehl

    In the introduction written by a youtuber I do not watch he says that "Your life's about to be changed forever. READ! THIS! BOOK!" Naturally, I had high hopes for this book and was ready to be proper blown away. That didn't happen. This story was not at all what I expected (which is not inherently bad), but overall this book just proper disappointed me. I did like the first chapter of the story which focused on Laurel (view spoiler)[(although that did change quite quickly when Martin kept harassi In the introduction written by a youtuber I do not watch he says that "Your life's about to be changed forever. READ! THIS! BOOK!" Naturally, I had high hopes for this book and was ready to be proper blown away. That didn't happen. This story was not at all what I expected (which is not inherently bad), but overall this book just proper disappointed me. I did like the first chapter of the story which focused on Laurel (view spoiler)[(although that did change quite quickly when Martin kept harassing her) (hide spoiler)] but as soon as I started to read Arthur's part I was just proper annoyed. I've read several YA stories that made me promise myself I would never pick up a book about horny teenage boys again because they have literally nothing else on their mind other than sex. So when this was exactly how Arthur's chapter started, I rolled my eyes and wished that this wouldn't be a reoccurring thing. (Spoiler: Of course it was.) Because Arthur is the titular character, I as the reader want to relate to him, to like him or at least to understand his thinking, but he just left me frustrated and angry. He is obsessed with women's bodies (this is actually something that other readers applaud, the fact that Caroline Smailes writes about "real" teenage boys), but I feel like there is a proper line which is definitely crossed when on almost every page either cocks or nipples are mentioned. Maybes I'm too adult or asexual for this... I did not like Arthur at all - and how could I if he says things like, "Are you my girlfriend? [Arthur laughs] God, that sounded gay." and also "My cock likes you." to the girl he fancies. Am I supposed to find that romantic??? The only characters I proper liked were Laurel, Delphina, and maybes also kind of Silver. I also liked the fact that there were some proper serious topics in this story, I appreciate that. However, I just didn't really enjoy reading this book and everything felt so superficial to me. The one thing I liked and that put a smile on my face was when Arthur brought his dad to that holy well and it healed him. And literally the only thing I could relate to was when Arthur was like, "Fucking Facebook." Concerning the plot, I wasn't impressed. There were a few things that I felt were supposed to be plot twists or revelations (view spoiler)[(that Delphina was a water nymph, that it was Laurel who killed herself, that Delphina was her daughter) (hide spoiler)] but that weren't actually that surprising. I always try to find sentences I really like but I didn't come across a single one that I wanted to highlight. Instead, I found this absolute gem of a sentence: "When you fall in love with someone, I reckon it's like they become your unicorn." Oookaay... Also I probs would have dnf-ed this if I wouldn't have the need to finish what I started and if I didn't buddyread this with Sammy. :D *Annoyed by all the propers, maybes, and probs? So was I while reading this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    Truly a brilliant story that I would not hesitate giving 6/5 stars. If you are afraid of uncensored and brutal honesty, this book is not for you. It's a very different story from many I have read, where every page the events surprised me. There was not a single dull moment. Beginning with the point of view of Laurel, Smailes kicks off with an ordinary tale that quickly escalates, raising a lot of questions. Following with Arthur's perspective, I had a lot of fun, rejoicing in his excessive, but hum Truly a brilliant story that I would not hesitate giving 6/5 stars. If you are afraid of uncensored and brutal honesty, this book is not for you. It's a very different story from many I have read, where every page the events surprised me. There was not a single dull moment. Beginning with the point of view of Laurel, Smailes kicks off with an ordinary tale that quickly escalates, raising a lot of questions. Following with Arthur's perspective, I had a lot of fun, rejoicing in his excessive, but humorous, use of the word "twat". The first half of the book is in no terms a sugarcoated romance novel, but it was not until the second half I realised the novel's true nature, and that of the characters. I truly had a brilliant time reading this book. I cried and I felt sick, I laughed and I related to characters. I wanted to throw up, and I was angry. I had the best time, and I would recommend it a hundred times over. However, although the characters are young, I do not recommend this for a younger audience. It contains a lot of bad language, and covers topic of suicide, bullying and depression. But if you are a teen or older, I hope you do give this one a shot, because it will leave you wanting more, and it will leave you questioning. I will now buy every other book that Caroline Smiles has written, and then I will be first in line when she writes another one. Truly brilliant. I salute you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clair Coult

    This was a bit of a Marmite book for me, there were parts I absolutely loved and other parts I didn't really enjoy at all. I really liked the narrative style of Laurel and Arthur. It was refreshing to hear young voices speaking so freely, although some readers might be offended by their use of strong language. I wasn't so keen on the story suddenly changing to script format. That didn't really work for me. I felt removed from the story, like I was watching a play rehearsal rather than reading a This was a bit of a Marmite book for me, there were parts I absolutely loved and other parts I didn't really enjoy at all. I really liked the narrative style of Laurel and Arthur. It was refreshing to hear young voices speaking so freely, although some readers might be offended by their use of strong language. I wasn't so keen on the story suddenly changing to script format. That didn't really work for me. I felt removed from the story, like I was watching a play rehearsal rather than reading a novel. The writing was descriptive and beautiful but there were a couple of occasions where it got a little repetitive and flat. I also struggled with the actions of Maddie and Laurel. As the mother of a stillborn daughter I found parts of the novel particularly painful and difficult to read, desipte them being very sensitively written. I have to admit it wasn't quite the book I expected it to be. It is beautifully dark and mysterious and on the whole I did enjoy it, but perhaps it wasn't the best choice for a holiday read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Louise Atkin

    I thought this book was amazing. There such a mix of themes here - coming of age, fairytales, magical realism. Smailes puts them all together in a way which means they aren't mismatched, and I instead it becomes a compelling, very Northern novel that I had to give five stars. It is about a boy called Arthur Braxton who one day finds a girl swimming in an abandoned pool, and that's all I'm going to say. It's one of those stories best gone into blind, because the more confused you are at the beginn I thought this book was amazing. There such a mix of themes here - coming of age, fairytales, magical realism. Smailes puts them all together in a way which means they aren't mismatched, and I instead it becomes a compelling, very Northern novel that I had to give five stars. It is about a boy called Arthur Braxton who one day finds a girl swimming in an abandoned pool, and that's all I'm going to say. It's one of those stories best gone into blind, because the more confused you are at the beginning, the more you benefit from the way everything ties together at the end. The characters were brilliant, and matched with the prose they embodied a very Northern voice. Smails also uses different forms to speak for each character which shows she has thought a lot about how she wants this story to be told. Overall, I just loved reading this. It was written so well that I couldn't wait to get back to it and read about Arthur and his angsty teenage life. This is a must for anyone who likes fairytales and teenage fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I just did not get this book. I loved the first part - Laurels story, but once we get to Arthur's story, I felt lost. It was like had been left behind whilst the story rambled on. I also hated Arthur. He is portrayed as a drippy, moany teenage boy who can only has one thing on his mind. As realistic as this may be, it does not make for a good protagonist in my opinion. I spent most the book wishing he'd just shut up. By the end of the book, I still felt like I had only been told half of the stor I just did not get this book. I loved the first part - Laurels story, but once we get to Arthur's story, I felt lost. It was like had been left behind whilst the story rambled on. I also hated Arthur. He is portrayed as a drippy, moany teenage boy who can only has one thing on his mind. As realistic as this may be, it does not make for a good protagonist in my opinion. I spent most the book wishing he'd just shut up. By the end of the book, I still felt like I had only been told half of the story. Characters just seemed to disappear without a trace which made the plot seem weak and desperate to me. This book just did not resonate with me at all which is a real shame.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Essie Fox

    Modern day tales of the complexities within dysfunctional families - the realities of love, life, death and sex - are entwined with the myths of ancient Greece in a story of love, loss, betrayal and redemption.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes is published by The Friday Project on 11 April 2013. This is Caroline Smailes' sixth book. I've previously read a couple of her novels; In Search of Adam and Like Bees To Honey and although I enjoyed reading both of those, I think that The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is far and away her greatest story yet. Caroline Smailes' writing is unique, quirky and sometimes a little bit strange, her style can take some getting used to but she really is a mo The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes is published by The Friday Project on 11 April 2013. This is Caroline Smailes' sixth book. I've previously read a couple of her novels; In Search of Adam and Like Bees To Honey and although I enjoyed reading both of those, I think that The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is far and away her greatest story yet. Caroline Smailes' writing is unique, quirky and sometimes a little bit strange, her style can take some getting used to but she really is a monster talent and if you don't mind having your head turned inside-out and left spinning like a top, then I'd really recommend that you read her work. """Arthur Braxton runs away from school. He hides out in an abandoned building, an Edwardian public baths. He finds a naked woman swimming in the pool. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is an unflinching account of the pain and trauma of adolescence, of how first love can transform the most unhappy of lives into something miraculous. It is a dark and brooding modern fairy tale from one of our most gifted writers."""" Caroline Smailes has layered Arthur Braxton's story very cleverly with the stories of the other two main characters; Delphina and Laurel. She also brings the story to the reader using different techniques including first-person narrative and stage-play scripting. The story slips back and forth in time and starts with Laurel's story. Laurel is a teenage girl who starts to work at The Oracle - the public baths on the seafront in a small Welsh town. Laurel is the oldest of seven children, her single-parent Mother is 'proper useless' but Laurel has dreams and ambitions and wants to go to college and train to be a teacher. Arthur Braxton is a teenage boy who is lonely. His Mother walked out years ago, his Dad has lost the plot completely and spends his day eating crisps and smells of pee. Arthur is bullied constantly by a gang of yobs and the final straw comes when a photo of his cock is posted on Facebook accompanied by 'you are a gay' taunts. Arthur takes refuge in the uninhabited building that once was The Oracle and there he meets the mysterious Delphina, and falls in love. Arthur soon becomes obsessed with Delphina's magical world of water-healers and strange old men and spends more and more time in their world. This is a complex story that interweaves the harsh reality and grittiness of Arthur's modern-day life with the magical, mystical world of The Oracle. Where bullying, twagging school and parental neglect slot in perfectly with water healing, 'other' worlds, fairy-like nymphs and the peculiar history of The Oracle. My head was spinning when I finished this story, at times I felt a little bit lost, but at others I felt as though I was there, in The Oracle, alongside Arthur, Laurel and Delphina. I realise now that Caroline Smailes has used some classical Greek myths as her basis for this novel but I'm really not familiar with those, so I really can't comment on the comparison. Caroline Smailes has an amazing imagination, and paints a stunning picture with her words. The setting of the derelict public baths is amazingly real and her characters are so well-drawn that I could see every inch of them in my mind. I have absolutely no doubt that The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is going to stay in my mind for a very long time, in fact I may re-read it at a later date, and that is something that I rarely do.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eleana

    Okay so I originally picked up this book based purely on the fact that I'd seen Carrie Fletcher mentioning it on youtube and I thought the cover was gorgeous and it looked really dark and mysterious (don't think I even watched the review at the time, just ordered the book based on the cover cause I'm vain lol), so I had not read the blurb, I didn't know what genre this was, I had basically no expectations from this book at all. So this pleasantly surprised me in all ways possible and I can say i Okay so I originally picked up this book based purely on the fact that I'd seen Carrie Fletcher mentioning it on youtube and I thought the cover was gorgeous and it looked really dark and mysterious (don't think I even watched the review at the time, just ordered the book based on the cover cause I'm vain lol), so I had not read the blurb, I didn't know what genre this was, I had basically no expectations from this book at all. So this pleasantly surprised me in all ways possible and I can say it was pretty enjoyable and kept me reading. I didn't really expect there to be magic elements in this, I was mostly thinking this was a sort of Perks of Being a Wallflower contemporary coming of age story, but I wasn't disappointed. First of all, I have to give props to the way this was written before anything else, because it's honestly so well done. The concept was executed amazingly, the characters were all unique and believable and all had a distinct voice and personality, the bits and pieces of information given at each chapter were just enough to keep the suspence going and it all came together and connected beautifully by the end of the story. The missing person reports were also incorporated really well into each chapter and added to the whole aura of mystery and creepiness of this book. I'm not sure how really necessary the whole Earth,Water,Air,Fire thing and the script used for Delphina's POV was, but either way I didn't mind them. (view spoiler)[ I fell in love so instantly from Laurel's first few chapters that I was just gutted when I realised she wasn't actually our protagonist. Our actual protagonist, Arthur Braxton, on the other hand was not really that fun to read about. Don't get me wrong his chapters were written really well and he was very fleshed out and believable, but he resembled teenage boys at my school so much to the point where he kind of became despicable in a way. I tried my best to relate to him and to his story, but I just really couldn't get behind the way he talked about girls and the weird fixation with pubic hair and the constant "gay thoughts". Not to mention he was just really dumb in all honesty. Who else just finds a girl who is constantly naked and in the water, has never been to school, or knows anything about technology and just thinks "lol that's cute and totally nothing out of the ordinary". My fav Arthur moment was when he thought Delphina didn't like him so he just..changed his relationship status on facebook??? I'm sure that solved everything, great job Arthur! Okay so as far as a story goes, I loved it, but I truly, deeply hated the romance aspect of all of this. It wasn't really love or anything it was just this weird power imbalance and Delphina admired Arthur and felt actual affection for him and then Arthur was just to some extent using her for the fact that a cute girl liked him, idk probably looking too far into this I was just seriously hoping they wouldn't actually end up together at the end. But other than that I just really loved all the characters. I find it really funny how Silver could just never be more specific than "Run", like run from where, why you being so vague damn. I would have liked some more explanation of Madame Pythia's (was that her name?) character, she kinda just remained this mystery until the very end of the book, I was expecting some kind of explanation as to why she does what she does, how she is this way, why she left Delphina, but none came. (hide spoiler)]

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Strong 3 1/2 stars. Heading towards four. Again I'm not really sure how to rate it. This book. When I picked up this book i was expecting a nitty gritty, concrete based novel grounded completely in a bleak and harsh reality. I expected a dark story and whilst all of these expectations were met I was also given so much more. This story is described on the back of the book as 'a dark and brooding modern fairy tale' and that is pretty much the perfect description of it. I'm not going to talk too mu Strong 3 1/2 stars. Heading towards four. Again I'm not really sure how to rate it. This book. When I picked up this book i was expecting a nitty gritty, concrete based novel grounded completely in a bleak and harsh reality. I expected a dark story and whilst all of these expectations were met I was also given so much more. This story is described on the back of the book as 'a dark and brooding modern fairy tale' and that is pretty much the perfect description of it. I'm not going to talk too much about the story through fear of giving too much away and so this is likely to be a very short review. Different sections of the book are narrated by different people that have their own story to tell as well as adding to the ongoing narrative. These stories clearly all share a link and are part of something much bigger but at the same time are wonderful, shocking and emotive in themselves. Humanity is explored in depth in this novel, in particular the darker side of our species, and so you will be left, at times, feeling a range of emotions from anger, to sympathy and empathy and disgust towards certain characters. The writer really does a great job at making you feel for the people in this book even when you don't always want to. People are complex and each one of us has reasons for being the way we are having experienced events in our lives that shape who we become. Smailes clearly recognises this fact uses it to great effect creating well rounded and complex characters. The writing is fantastic. Each narrator speaks in their own way with clear differences in the way they talk and express themselves. Another technique that is used to differentiate the characters is the use of writing style. For example, whilst some characters sections are told in first person narrative, others are set out as a script and relayed in the third person. It keeps the writing fresh throughout and makes it a joy to read. You know, just in case the wonderful speeches, interesting story and blend of real and fantasy weren't enough for you. There are also pages in the book that punctuate the start of various sections such as missing persons reports and weather forecast updates (both of which will make more sense upon reading). These provide a sense of progression and also an outside perspective in addition to reminding you of what's going on in the book in terms of the wider story. There are also some stunning quotes, primarily from one character. 'One day I will be left with echoes. Echoes of hope.' is a particular favorite. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is a dark and tragic story at times and an uplifting one at others. It explores dark themes and doesn't shy away from how morbid human behavior can become. It blends dark reality with fantasy to great effect without ever making it feel cheesy or cliched. In fact, the whole book feels unique and stands out as a brilliant and emotive read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    The only predictable thing about Caroline Smailes’ writing is that it’s unpredictable. She has such a wonderful wealth of imagination and this is evidenced by the diversity of her novels. I have already read and enjoyed Black Boxes and Like Bees to Honey (reviewed here ) but I think Arthur Braxton might be the one which brings her to a much wider audience . Why? Well, the story of Arthur B can be read on so many different levels. On the surface it’s an urban fairytale – young teenager, alienated b The only predictable thing about Caroline Smailes’ writing is that it’s unpredictable. She has such a wonderful wealth of imagination and this is evidenced by the diversity of her novels. I have already read and enjoyed Black Boxes and Like Bees to Honey (reviewed here ) but I think Arthur Braxton might be the one which brings her to a much wider audience . Why? Well, the story of Arthur B can be read on so many different levels. On the surface it’s an urban fairytale – young teenager, alienated by his peers, falls for a mythical creature only he doesn’t see any problem in their living happily after after. Dive a little deeper…and you’ll see all the complexities of human relationships, the tragedy of everyday life alongside the joy of feeling loved and wanted. A little deeper and you appreciate the splashes of Greek mythology which infuse this boy meets girl story – the stories of Daphne, Medea, Castor and Pollux amongst others. Even though the characters seem very out of the ordinary and not of this world, they come across as real-life, flesh and blood people and the reader is invested in their fate. Young Laurel was the character who captivated me the most – forever child-like, spelling out words with her Smartie lids, deserving of a much brighter future. Then there are the ageless twins, Kester and Pollock, heckling from the viewing gallery of the pool, reminding me a lot of those curmudgeonly old hecklers from the Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf….I told you it was different from your usual comfort read! Whereas some of Caroline Smailes’ other novels have “challenged” readers with their unconventional formats, here she retains the variety of text without overwhelming the reader and it all seems more controlled and lets you settle into the novel with less distractions. It’s one of those books you will want to stay up into the wee small hours reading and yet it will seem time as passed as quickly as an episode of Waterloo Road….read the book and you’ll understand. I have a strong feeling this novel will bring Caroline Smailes much success and mark her out as one of our most promising writers…ahem, Granta…

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nik Perring

    There's clearly going to be a little bias when I talk about The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. It's written by Caroline Smailes, whom I co-wrote Freaks! with, and it's published by the magnificent Friday Project. But let's not talk about bias or let than get in the way of what is truly a remarkable and brilliant novel. I love Caroline's work (as you probably already know) and I think this is her best yet. It's a story of love and its power and it's the story of loss too. It's a fairy tale. It's hear There's clearly going to be a little bias when I talk about The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. It's written by Caroline Smailes, whom I co-wrote Freaks! with, and it's published by the magnificent Friday Project. But let's not talk about bias or let than get in the way of what is truly a remarkable and brilliant novel. I love Caroline's work (as you probably already know) and I think this is her best yet. It's a story of love and its power and it's the story of loss too. It's a fairy tale. It's heartbreaking, and touching, it's funny and it's brilliant. It's sweary too - very sweary. I read it in one sitting (pretty much) and I fell in love with it. I know the word 'masterpiece' is used a little too often but I genuinely think that that's the only way to describe it. It's wonderful. You should read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    I so wanted to like this book. Word of mouth on Twitter and other social-network platforms was so good, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. However, I just didn't get on with it. In fairness, I don't think I'm the target audience – I would say this is a book for young adults. I found it too long and a bit repetitive; also, with the exception of Laurel, the characters are not particularly engaging (indeed, some are downright annoying, like Kester and Pollock). Caroline Smailes does have an ear I so wanted to like this book. Word of mouth on Twitter and other social-network platforms was so good, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. However, I just didn't get on with it. In fairness, I don't think I'm the target audience – I would say this is a book for young adults. I found it too long and a bit repetitive; also, with the exception of Laurel, the characters are not particularly engaging (indeed, some are downright annoying, like Kester and Pollock). Caroline Smailes does have an ear for teenage vernacular, and I'm sure that Arthur's preoccupation with Facebook reflects the way a lot of young people feel, but I just couldn't bring myself to care.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    I feel like maybe I did something wrong when reading this book, because everyone else seems to have loved it! However, I felt that the author didn't explain everything at the end of the book. I still have a lot of questions that went unanswered and (unless this is to be the first book in a series) I think that shows poor writing. I guess I'm mostly just disapointed because up until the last 80 pages or so, I was really enjoying The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. All in all, I think it could have be I feel like maybe I did something wrong when reading this book, because everyone else seems to have loved it! However, I felt that the author didn't explain everything at the end of the book. I still have a lot of questions that went unanswered and (unless this is to be the first book in a series) I think that shows poor writing. I guess I'm mostly just disapointed because up until the last 80 pages or so, I was really enjoying The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. All in all, I think it could have been a really good book but Caroline Smailes didn't follow through with the ending.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann Rawson

    Something different. A modern myth or fairytale, very dark, very moving. The main character, Arthur, is a very real boy whose life has more than enough gritty realism to grind anyone down - and yet still he has hope and is drawn towards love and beauty and transformation. Bah, I can't describe it, any more than I could put it down. You'll just have to read it and see for yourself. You should. Something different. A modern myth or fairytale, very dark, very moving. The main character, Arthur, is a very real boy whose life has more than enough gritty realism to grind anyone down - and yet still he has hope and is drawn towards love and beauty and transformation. Bah, I can't describe it, any more than I could put it down. You'll just have to read it and see for yourself. You should.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Serene Kwek

    This book has helped me gain a new perspective on life and for that, I thank you Arthur Braxton. No doubt, it features some mature themes (rape, suicide, coerced sex) but at the heart of the story is about a boy dealing with adolescence, first love and heartache. A dark and gritty modern fairytale that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster. No amount of words will do this beautiful story justice so I will just say one thing: READ IT!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I absolutely LOVED this book. This is a wonderful, sweary modern-day urban fairytale: there is the cruelty of dysfunctional families, neglected children and abusive relationships, but there is also the all-consuming joy of first love, kindness, humour, all seamlessly mixed in with myths and magic. Full review to follow.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Faye Ducker

    I barely enjoyed this book. A very repetitive piece of work that has largely only one setting, and the ramblings of teenagers. Don't get me wrong, there's obviously some beauty in the way teenagers see the world, but The Drowning of Arthur Braxton bypassed that. Also rather far fetched with no real need to be. I barely enjoyed this book. A very repetitive piece of work that has largely only one setting, and the ramblings of teenagers. Don't get me wrong, there's obviously some beauty in the way teenagers see the world, but The Drowning of Arthur Braxton bypassed that. Also rather far fetched with no real need to be.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I found it an interesting reading, but I didn't quite enjoy being in his mind. He was very superficial and explicit, a bit rude and I disliked his way of thinking which made me dislike the story a bit. I like how it explored interesting and controversial themes, though. At the same time, I didn't quite get the ending too much, but that's part of the game. I found it an interesting reading, but I didn't quite enjoy being in his mind. He was very superficial and explicit, a bit rude and I disliked his way of thinking which made me dislike the story a bit. I like how it explored interesting and controversial themes, though. At the same time, I didn't quite get the ending too much, but that's part of the game.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Such an amazing book. The mystery really drew me in. The characters feel so real & the storyline is really well though out. Always leaving you with a puzzle piece missing, so you want to read on. I also love that wvery character has it's own writing and language style!! I can only recommend it, really! Although you need to be a bit open minded as it has parts of fantasy in it. Such an amazing book. The mystery really drew me in. The characters feel so real & the storyline is really well though out. Always leaving you with a puzzle piece missing, so you want to read on. I also love that wvery character has it's own writing and language style!! I can only recommend it, really! Although you need to be a bit open minded as it has parts of fantasy in it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Galla

    In order to talk Does it have to shock? This is bad. This is sad. Cause there is no hope In this fucking world For All Arthur Braxtons, So... Shall I take the twatting rope And piss off To the otherworld? Because I am like him. Regards Reader

  30. 4 out of 5

    Talli Roland

    Loved loved LOVED! Read it in two days - once I started, I couldn't stop. Strange, magical, and fabulous. Loved loved LOVED! Read it in two days - once I started, I couldn't stop. Strange, magical, and fabulous.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.