Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cellar Door

by Paul Fenton


The first thing that struck me about The Cellar were the words in the blurb: WARNING: This book contains strong language. Not too much, but it's there. As soon as I read it I thought - juvenile. I began reading expecting no storyline, bad writing and swearing just for the sake of it. There was neither. It was very well written, very funny and also very dark. It was very slow to build,  and half way through the book I began to wonder if there was an actual climax. In the end I gave up expecting one and settled to enjoy the Zak and Sara's banter and chaotic world.   

The Cellar Door had *real* characters with flaws (an awful lot!). The narrator, Zak, was a nice enough bloke who was plodding through life with his eccentric wife Sara when the modern world struck (credit crunch) and they both lost their jobs. Then they found a hidden door in the cellar and beyond that many relics from the 1940s. 

If you are upset by bad language then I don't think this book will shock you (there are a few c-words, but the book was so funny they became acceptable!), if, however, you frown on illegal drugs being banded around (and sold) like sweets maybe this book isn't for you. 

Paul Fenton built a controversial storyline around a young couple who clearly loved one another, and I enjoyed how he sewed their relationship into the story. Sara, who (according to Zak the narrator) murdered chinchillas at the start of the story, was someone who took me almost to the end of the book to warm to, and it made me wonder why she'd fall for someone as "sensible" as Zak. But Zak, became the almost-hero, and he alone made this story with his wittiness and dry humour.

Actually, I think I fell in love a little bit with Zak.

Blurb: Zak and Sara discover a hidden room adjoining the cellar of their house. The room contains a large supply of opium resin, four crates of World War Two machine pistols, and a decapitated corpse in a bath-tub. They've both recently lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills, so they attempt to profit from their discovery ... just until the economy picks up again, of course.

They're not the only ones interested in what else is under the floor of the house, though.

WARNING: This book contains strong language. Not too much, but it's there.