Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney

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Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney

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Category: Humour
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Lu Greer
Reviewed by Lu Greer
Summary: A comedic look into the humanity of animals, and the animalistic nature of humans. As a writer, Devaney shows promise, but this offering has more short comings than strong points.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 256 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Salt Publishing
ISBN: 978-1907773167

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Deaf at Spiral Park is a bizarre take on the philosophy of what it is to be human, attempted through the portrayal of a bear who shaves of his fur to appear as a human. The story combines philosophy with comedy using a range of stock characters including a clown and a farmer to show the world of the bear and to consider how his humanity may be more than that of the humans themselves.

This is a strange book, with a strange layout and even stranger writing style. From reading the blurb I had assumed that this would begin with the bear’s decision to shave of his fur and his philosophical choice to join the humans. Instead though, we are told simply that the bear is sick of the woods, and so he goes into the town, breaks into the barbers and has a bit of a trim. Straight from this, the story changes to that of the Recruitment Consultant and a rather amusing summation of her day which includes using the internet to see which Harry Potter character she is most like and finding menial and irrelevant jobs for over qualified graduates. It is actually the Recruitment Consultant’s story which is the most appealing in Deaf at Spiral Park, as each time she appears, Devaney uses her to explore the bizarre and somewhat ridiculous truths of today’s office worker. The Recruitment Officer herself dies several times throughout the book, which is presumably to highlight the way in which we as a species learn nothing from our time on Earth, instead comes across as almost being unusual just for the sake of it.

This is the first novel from Kieran Devaney and, frankly, it seems to show. Because of this it is hard to tell whether several of the drawbacks of the novel are intentional and part of his writing style, or whether they are part of a learning curve which will gradually disappear as he grows as a writer. In particular this is visible in the way the novel switches between the past and present tense which, if there is a reason behind, was lost on me. In addition to his, most of the dialogue in the novel is conveyed as reported speech instead of traditional dialogue which works in places, but at other times makes the conversations confusing and means that when written in particular dialects or using colloquialisms, it reads peculiarly and feels almost as if the speech marks have actually just been forgotten.

Overall, the premise for this book seemed very interesting, and from the blurb I for one assumed that it would be showing both how similar humans are to the animals, and considering the strange ways in which we humans behave from an outside perspective. Unfortunately though, whilst the book has some interesting ideas, such as the use of stock characters becoming the most complex characters, much of it remains largely inaccessible particularly to the casual reader. This book may be worth a look for those interested in philosophy as the ideas within it are certainly ripe for intellectual debate, for the general public though it’s probably best to steer clear. Whilst in points it is witty and insightful, much of it feels inexperienced and almost as though it is only different to the norm for the sake of being different, instead of for genuinely creative purposes.

For another attempt at mixing philosophy and humour, Lamb by Christopher Moore leans slightly more on the comedy side, but still has ideas it's keen to get across.

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Buy Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney at


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