Bliss...or is it? Life is peachy for 20-something Daniel Barker, who lives with his offbeat group of friends in a small flat in Bristol. From the eccentric Franz to the dominatrix Polly and the psychotic Shane, they all bring color and excitement to his life. Together they are family, inseparable. But as space reaches a premium and tensions begin to rise, Dan's whole world threatens to implode around him. The real nightmare is about to begin....
Veering from brutal to comic via tragedy, disaster, and love, Head of Words is the story of one man's path to understanding upon a roller coaster of life that threatens to both destroy him and set him free.
Chris Ward is the acclaimed author of the Tube Riders Trilogy and The Man Who Built the World. Visit Chris' author page for information on more great titles, or find Chris on Facebook at Chris Ward (Fiction Writer).
Head of Words is a book of two parts. It is Daniel Barker’s story who lives with 13 other people and a dog in a tiny apartment in Bristol in the UK. The listener is introduced to this eccentric group of residents in short vignettes that show how Daniel met them, what these people do (or more likely, not do) and what their personalities are like. To Daniel, they are his family. But with so many different individuals crowded together, there are obviously arguments and a lot of tension. Then one day, a tragic event changes Daniel’s life and leaves him separated from his family and totally confused. That’s where the second part of the story and the “action” starts. And this part is much darker and quite mysterious, as Daniel tries to come to terms with the loss of his family (well, kind of).
I’ve been having a bit of a run lately with books that have been unusual and this is another one of those. I had never heard of this author before, but thought the book description sounded quite intriguing, and it certainly turned out to be a very unique story.
The writing is really straightforward, and Daniel’s narration as he introduces the listener to his family and his life is very entertaining and fun to listen to, especially if you are familiar with life in Britain. I loved his slightly sarcastic tone and was smiling through a lot of the first part. Then the tone really changes in the second part, and there are some great twists and a rather lovely ending. Very cleverly constructed.
First-time narrator, Tim Bick, did a great job of portraying Daniel as a believable, sometimes conflicted character. The narration was straightforward and natural but interjected sufficient emotion in the right places. I would certainly listen to other audio books narrated by Mr. Bick in the future. There were no issues with the production.
There is some violence, some sex and some swearing but nothing too graphic, even for sensitive listeners.
I would recommend this if you are interested in mental health, but also if you are looking for something out of the ordinary that combines humor, psychology, mystery and unconventional characters. A very interesting listen!
Audiobook was provided for review by the author
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11 of 16 people found this review helpful
13 people are bound to have different stories and bring something new to the table. Well, for Daniel Barker he and his friends all sharing a small flat in Bristol things are bound to get interesting.
The narration for Head of Words was done by Tim Bick and boy does he nail it. His voice was so soothing and interesting I found myself glued to my phone whenever I was listening to this. I’m an American, but I had absolutely no issue understanding Bick’s narration.
The story is totally different than what I would normally read, but I still found myself drawn into it. Maybe it’s because I still enjoy feeling like I get to know new and interesting people when I read a new story. This story has no shortness on new and interesting people.
The writing style was a bit exentric and I believe that Ward did this on purpose to show a different style for each new character. When you have this many people in a story, it becomes really easy to get lost in who is who. But, the way that Ward wrote this — I never really found myself going “wait, who is that?”
Overall, the combination of an interesting writing style from Ward and a killer narration by Bick this book was definitely a surprise to me. There were times when I felt like I knew what was going to happen which usually upsets me, but for some reason in this story it didn’t bother me as much.
This was the first book I have read (listened to) of Chris Ward's and it was a thoroughly entertaining ride. Light and dark, poignant and violent, twists and turns, I wasn't quite sure where it was going throughout (a compliment rather than a criticism) but it kept me hooked to the end.
The narration was also really enjoyable, playful in places, Tim Bick was able to imbue the main protagonists with their own character without descending into exaggerated accents. I look forward to hearing his next commission
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Daniel was pretty happy sharing his one bedroom flat in Bristol with a large group of people, his collected 'family', and a dog. But it was getting pretty crowded and only one ever helped with the rent. Then things started to go wrong ...
Told entirely from Daniel's perspective, this is an intriguing story, told in an engaging way, easy to read with characters sharply drawn. The initial section introduces each of the various freeloaders living in Daniel's flat, their faults and attributes and relationships with each other. It is a glorious progression. Then something occurs which seperates him from his friends and the tone becomes far darker.
Narrator Tim Bick gives an excellent portrayal of the young man, at times disgusted, frustrated, and sometimes in fear but always glad to have the comfort of his friendships around him. His, at times, slightly sardonic tones are well placed and Bick's portrayal of him is very true to life despite Daniel's overcrowded lifestyle. Very natural, too, as he visits places in Bristol.
Well written and read, this is a book to enjoy. Not action packed, though the pace does pick up in the latter stages, it is nevertheless filled with interest and speculation. This is the first of Chris Ward's books that I have read and it will certainly not be my last. Recommended.