Melting in the Middle - Andy Howden; | Foyles Bookstore
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Melting in the Middle
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Melting in the Middle (Paperback)

Usually despatched within 2 days.


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...

Praise for Melting in the Middle:

"The dialogue zips along at a pace that keeps the reader on their toes

without running out of breath"

Ian McMillan, poet, author and presenter of The Verb on BBC Radio 3

"Whip-smart funny and brilliantly observed. Howden is a great storyteller, turning recognisable personalities and corporate events into sharp and clever comedy."

Louise Fein, author of People Like Us

"I was completely charmed. Funny, poignant and uplifting."

Cathie Hartigan, author of Notes From The Lost

Fiction & PoetryRomanceRomanceAdult & contemporary romance Publisher: Troubador Publishing Publication Date: 28/11/2020 ISBN-13: 9781800460645  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: Usually despatched within 2 days. Add to Basket

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 sprang out of a MA in Creative Writing at St Mary's University in South-West London, where Andy lives.

More books by Andy Howden

Customer Reviews

“Do good among the carnage” may be the slogan for this book of contemporary challenges for a man struggling with all elements of his life. Not that it is a miserable book in any sense; on the contrary it is full of humour as Stephen struggles with the problems of twenty-first century life. There are many chocolate related jokes as he works as Marketing director for an old established firm of chocolate manufacturers, even though they are struggling with their product lines of Bingo Bars, Munchy Moments and Little Monkeys. Stephen is divorced, wanting to share in the care of his two teenage children despite their reluctance to actually talk to him. It is only meeting Rachel, who has other priorities, that Stephen begins to see a way of coping with his life. Much of the humour in this book comes from the antics of an American company, Schmaltz, in the person of Brad Hardman, who is determined to take over Europe. As company-speak and management jargon are deployed to express some really daft ideas, Stephen struggles to keep his sanity in this mainly light hearted novel. Funny, touching and immensely relatable, this genuinely enjoyable book looks at the problems of parenting, work and relationships in a confusing world. Howden has a real gift for creating and maintaining characters who come alive on the page, whether it is a sophisticated Italian or a sulky teenager. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this entertaining book. The book begins with Stephen at a business meeting, where he silently despairs of his colleagues and their presentations regarding the business of selling chocolate bars. There is a disquieting rumour that the struggling Grimley’s is about to be taken over, and he is thrown by the risk to his job which means he can stay local for his children on the alternate weekends when he has access. Saddened, he goes home via Cambridge, where he hears a beautiful hymn sung in a college chapel. He reluctantly goes to a neighbours’ party, where he meets the younger and unusual Rachel, who seems very different from anyone else he has ever met. As a result he finds himself at a church service, a little bewildered. It does not take long for the takeover to become reality, and accordingly Stephen and a group of his colleagues are taken to a tatty hotel just outside Paris, where they are subjected to a rally style meeting to whip up enthusiasm for the takeover. Hardman announces his dramatic methods to improve sales and his dubious choices of managers, including Carol, a young woman that Stephen knows well. When a whole new way of working is introduced, he has to take action to cut the workforce in his department. Rachel encourages him to try and do what is necessary, but with a certain amount of kindness. Can he hope to “do good among the carnage”? This is a very enjoyable book which pokes gentle fun at contemporary business practices, which can run roughshod over established ways of working. It also manages to show the very real difficulties of being a parent to teenagers, coping with an ex partner and much more. It is an enjoyable read with a real plot, characters that are consistent and an underlying humour. I recommend it as an entertaining read.

- 12/03/2021
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