Thursday, April 16, 2015

'Mainlander' by Will Smith

16 April 2015

The comedian Will Smith is best known for his role as an inept political advisor in 'The Thick of It', and for the fact that he comes from Jersey. His first novel, 'Mainlander' (which I have just read as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Jot Davies), clearly draws closely on personal experience. It is set in Jersey in 1987, allowing Will Smith the opportunity to mix some 1980s nostalgia with a portrait of his island home. He creates a vivid impression of what was like to live on Jersey, showing both the pros and the cons. You might expect a comedian's first book to be a comic novel but 'Mainlander' is a fairly straight thriller, with some nicely judged humour but driven by its intricate plot. We see the events through the eyes of series of key characters as their individual stories overlap. There's more plot than character development and I didn't find any of the protagonists very sympathetic, but it's an entertaining and gripping read.



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