Melting in the Middle by Andy Howden
Long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize, Melting in the Middle is a literary comedy about redemption and second chances, played out amid the madness of modern life. For Stephen Carreras, life is in turmoil. His career with Britain’s worst chocolate company is heading for the rocks when it’s taken over by US confectionery giant Schmaltz. He’s just turned forty, he’s messed up on marriage and is struggling to keep a toehold in the lives of his monosyllabic teenage children. Then he meets Rachel, who dances to a very different beat. She challenges him to do good among the carnage that surrounds him. But to do so, he must confront his past and work out all over again what really matters…
I loved the time this was set in, loved the tone, the voice and the premise. This story was honest, with a main character who is just an ordinary bloke. My thoughts on him swung from feeling sympathy at the way his ex-wife treated him and thinking he deserved it, rooting for him in his new job, whilst wishing he'd tell his employer to stuff it, and all kinds in between. Stephen grows and develops wonderfully throughout the book, and by the end he had my wholehearted support.
I absolutely adored the scenes where he was at the conference and when he goes back to work after Christmas - really laugh-out-loud funny!
About the Author
Born in Yorkshire, Andy Howden read English at Sheffield University before a career in marketing, including working for a multi-national company in London and Paris. This novel was long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize as ‘funny, poignant and uplifting’ and sprang out of a MA in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University in Twickenham. Andy lives in South West London with is wife and has two grown up children who have left home but fortunately keep popping back to see him.
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