Cover Image: Theft


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Member Reviews

Although this book seems relatable, reflects real life and had characters who seem down to earth and normal- it’s also deeper than you think. There is a darker edge to this book, very thought provoking.
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This was an interesting mix of a political novel and a relationships story. I liked the wit of the narrator and the irony on London lifestyle. It was not always easy to relate to the group of people in the book, so it felt a little distancing, but overall it's a good tale for the modern times. The dynamic between all the characters was great and propelled the plot.
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I've really been trying not to add to my TBR pile this year, but this novel sounded like just the book for me after a year of psychological thrillers.  I honed in on the promise of a setting on the north-west coast, a reclusive author and black comedy.  All three of these were indeed features of the novel, but they were maybe not the most important parts. 

This novel certainly captures the zeitgeist - perfect for anyone who is finding themselves outshined by media-savvy twenty-somethings, and bogged down by the politics and social niceties of everyday life.  It's a fresh, quirky and cynical take on a tortured romance with plenty of  internal doubt chucked in for good measure. 

I felt that the characterisation in this novel was really a game of two halves.  Paul was delivered to the reader as a padded-out, believable character - the type of person that I felt I knew well.  Hapless, lacking direction and stuck in a role where he was very much undervalued and unappreciated, I felt like I really wanted to give Paul a kick up the bum and tell him to get his life sorted out.  I completely understood his motivations and felt for his sense of just not quite fitting in.

Emily, however, was a bit more of a slippery fish, and it took me a while to get to grips with where she fitted in and what she was going to bring to the novel.  I got quite confused with the relationships between Emily, Andrew and Sophie; whilst I'm aware that this was intentional, I found it a bit too disorientating and prevented me from enjoying the narrative as much I wanted to.   

Maybe it was me, maybe it was the delivery, but I didn't find this novel to have as much humour as billed.  It was certainly sold to be as a black comedy, but I found the pace of the novel perhaps too slow and it's narrative too convoluted to really find it humorous in any sense.  I wasn't expecting it to be laugh-out-loud funny, but I think that I felt for Paul too much to find humour in his situation.  There's a deadpan tone, and there's irony and sarcasm, but I'm not sure that these added up to comedy, black or otherwise. 

There's a lot of merit in the author's use of Paul as an unreliable narrator.  He doesn't even know whether he can trust his own interpretation at times.  The narration is deadpan and blunt, and I enjoyed the way that Paul inserts himself into people's lives whether they want it or not; he appears to be aware of social expectations, lacks any really wrongful motivation and yet does it anyway.  

Overall, this was a good read, but was rather more literary than I was expecting from the blurb.  Luke Brown is clearly a talented author and I think that the novel's billing was more an issue here than any authorial aspect. 
It's perhaps a case of my expectations being set up for one thing and then being delivered another, I think.  If I'd read the book without it being labelled as humorous, I would possibly have enjoyed it much more as literary fiction. 

Luke Francis was a great choice of narrator for the audio version of this novel.  He voice was personable and laid back, and had just the deadpan delivery required to bring Paul's narrative to life.  He really helped me to connect with the character.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Luke Brown and Saga Egmont Audio for this ARC in return for my honest review.
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This book reminded me of Ali Smith's seasonal quartet, which is a very good thing. The main character was pretty irritating sometimes, but I could look past it.
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This, was different. Not my favorite thing. Nothing particularly wrong with it just not my thing you know
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Theft AUDIO by Luke Brown is an entertaining look into the life of a 33 year-old man-about-town in 2016 London. By day he works in a bookshop. By night he, Paul, is a columnist for a pop culture magazine, “White Jesus,’ where his claim to fame is a page devoted to amazing haircuts and another, a literary page, which as it turns out, no one reads. He lives in a non-descript flat known as “The Chateau” which has a revolving door, two bedrooms and a living room that is sometimes a third bedroom that he has had since college. There does not seem to be much of a plot but it is rather a stream of consciousness focusing on his life and those around him. It is entertaining as one listens to it but doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression. 

His mother and best friend have both just died and he is in mourning and in disbelief. His sister is newly pregnant by a stranger. He has no relationship but takes things as they come. Then he meeds Emily Nardini, a young author, with whom he immediately falls in love only to discover that she she lives with, and ultimately, marries an older college professor/conservative historian, Andrew. He is jealous but knows better than to cause trouble, mostly. Instead he becomes involved with Andrew’s young, and decidedly not conservative, daughter. It is good fun as Paul navigates his life and relationships. There is really not much point to the whole thing, but I am probably not his target audience. I was fun, though, in the moment

Luke Francis was the perfect choice as narrator for this book. He is Paul. He has a charming accent and the perfect attitude. He seems to take things as they come, just like Paul. Kudos.

I was invited to listen to a free e-ARC audio of Theft by Saga Egmont, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #sagaegmont #lukebrown  #theft #lukefrancis
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***3.5 Stars On My Instagram Account***

Will Brexit happen because of the arrogance of men?"

"Because we won...because there are more of us then THEM." Says the man celebrating Brexit.

"What if being angry is the only thing that is keeping me going?"

The thought provoking sarcastic, and at times hilarious, Theft, by new to me author Luke Brown, is at first a bit of a wandering of thoughts  but by the second half it's a story of having to grow up and face the reality of the disillusionment of unrequited love  and the love of country.

In 2016 at Paul's therapy sessions we discover his unhappiness with his job at White Jesus magazine where he posts humorous and sometimes mean articles about haircuts he sees on the streets. Not his dream journalism career.

He interviews reclusive author, Emily, older than him, and falls in love but she's dating much older, wealthier, and often a cheater Andrew.  To stay near her and, maybe to annoy Andrew, he starts dating Sophie, Andrew's free spirit daughter.

While this soap opera drama plays out Paul is also dealing with helping his sister sell their family home after their mother's death. He is realizing that there really won't be a place to call home anymore. He is worried about Brexit passing because then the country he grew up in won't be the same home anymore either. It's enough to make even an entitled man feel loss.

Narrator Luke Francis is hysterically sarcastic with complaints about life, finances, politics, gentrification and love. I think listening helped to better understand the author didn't mean for the readers to empathize but maybe understand that to some when things went wrong they "rather be punished than forgotten." I couldn't relate to a lot of this story but I felt the disillusionment of country.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Saga Egmont Audio via #netgalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I couldn't finish this title. I listened to the first 1/4 but just didn't care about the characters. The writing wasn't bad, but it also wasn't good enough to keep me invested.
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ARC audiobook provided in exchange for an honest review. 

Wow! I really enjoyed this book and the narrator, Luke Francis, was brilliant! The story took me by surprise at many times, which I absolutely love not knowing where things are leading. The drama between Paul and his missing sister spirals right into Emily, Andrew, and his daughter Sophie falling right into each others lives. I really loved the dynamic between all the characters and even went back to listen for some of my favorite quotes! No spoilers, but the one about the knife is epic! I will definitely be purchasing a copy for myself to annotate all me favorite lines!
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This was a DNF for me, I wasn’t super into the storyline and I wasn’t the hugest fan of the narration. NO OFFENSE AT ALL! I feel bad even writing that- I just couldn’t get hooked like I have been able to with other audiobooks.
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As a millennial living in London this tale was hugely relatable, if cringeworthy to realise how very cliché we all are. It was quite funny with some good tongue in cheek jokes and familiar conversations at ‘secret speakeasies’ in back rooms.

It is serious and lighthearted in equal measure. 

I remember being absolutely gutted at the Brexit leave vote and crying when the Tories got in again, this such a well crafted set of characters that I feel like I could have met and spoken them.

The magazine he works for is totally identifiable as Vice or similar and made me laugh at how accurate it is, even his ‘haircuts column’ reminds me of Vice’s mean, yet funny dos & don’ts from years back, the culture of the magazine is spot on! 

I found the whole thing very entertaining and on point, the narrator was great too. 4/5
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I was given the audiobook through Net Galley and thought it sounded interesting. I am afraid I couldn't get beyond 20% through. Not sure I'm the target audience to be fair. I found the narrative voice irritating and I just couldn't empathise. I think I'm a generation or two too old.
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Reading the blurb, this sounded like a book that I would be engaged with and enjoy. In actuality it was incredibly annoying. Overwritten. So full of similes and metaphors that the story was lost in the clever linguistic gymnastics.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me access, but this one did not do it for me.
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Paul writes two pages for the magazine, White Jesus- one on books, the other on hairstyles. Though it pays better than the book page, hair criticism is not a hard science but it will be the thing he's best known for. 

He's argued with his sister, Amy, about the house of their deceased mother and become smitten with Emily, a private author who grants him a rare interview but is dating the older, successful Andrew. With Amy missing, Emily and Andrew provide a welcome distraction from the northwest coastal background he's distancing himself from even though he knows London offers him little instead. 

'I fall in love with everyone I meet, for a little bit'   9%

The selling point for this is the writing style. It's what would be described as 'very British', meaning it's full of dry wit and clever phraseology to express the complex nature of the characters. The story demands your attention because it has things to say and isn't waiting for you to catch up with it. 

Unfortunately, this is also where the book lost me. Throughout I had the feeling of waiting for a key plot point to kick in to ground the story however this didn't materialise. It says a lot about culture, class and envy of others, but through an abstract approach. 

Francis uses a simple narration style, the usual 'reading what is on the page' approach. It doesn't feature accents or voice changes but does clearly express the story, which suits the layered nature of the writing.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to listen to this audio book in return for an honest review. 
What I did to them was terrible, but you have to understand the context. This was London, 2016 . . .

Bohemia is history. Paul has awoken to the fact that he will always be better known for reviewing haircuts than for his literary journalism. He is about to be kicked out of his cheap flat in east London and his sister has gone missing after an argument about what to do with the house where they grew up. Now that their mother is dead this is the last link they have to the declining town on the north-west coast where they grew up.
Enter Emily Nardini, a cult author, who – after granting Paul a rare interview – receives him into her surprisingly grand home. Paul is immediately intrigued: by Emily and her fictions, by her vexingly famous and successful partner Andrew (too old for her by half), and later by Andrew’s daughter Sophie, a journalist whose sexed-up vision of the revolution has gone viral. Increasingly obsessed, relationships under strain, Paul travels up and down, north and south, torn between the town he thought he had escaped and the city that threatens to chew him up.
With heart, bite and humour, Luke Brown leads the reader beyond easy partisanship and into much trickier terrain. Straddling the fissures within a man and his country, riven by envy, wealth, ownership, entitlement, and loss, Theft is an exhilarating howl of a novel.

This was another novel that I’d say didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It’s not badly written, far from it, it’s written extremely well. The storyline lost me fairly regularly, but perhaps I’m not the target demographic. Strongly based around relationships but with a hard political narrative running alongside. For me. The last few chapters captured my attention the most. Which is a little bit of a shame that it wasn’t the same for the entirety. Again, probably just me. The narration was great!
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Set in the era of the Brexit referendum, Paul wedges himself into the lives of the affluent people he meets. As the protagonist of this novel, he isn't exactly likeable. As a northerner, he feels he has to soften his edges to fit in with London life. Then he meets Emily, a Glaswegian who has also tamed her accent and changed herself to 'fit in'. Emily is married to Andrew, an older man, they live in a more upmarket part of the city. Paul befriends Andrew and tries to seduce both his wife and his daughter. This is less dramatic and more full of black humour and witty observations, sharply narrated in the audio book. There never seems to be an aim or goal to Pauls antics, and that makes the novel both disturbing and compelling in equal measure. The narrative is destructive and dark and very well crafted, this is a book you'll think about long after you finish reading it.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance audio book.
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I really enjoyed this book! It was witty and very British so if you don't like Britcoms or get UK humor, this title probably isn't for you. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was fabulous.
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While I think this book was well written, it just wasn’t for me. The protagonist, Paul, is a middle aged white man who I had a hard time relating with. I feel like my mind just went blank around halfway through listening.
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Paul is battling himself for love, emotions, and so much more. He loves Emily, but dates her boyfriends daughter Sophie to make her jealous. Honestly this book was not for me. I just could not connect with any of the characters or the story line. The narrator however did a great job, and I did enjoy listening to his accent. This is not a story I would read again. 

Special thanks to netgalley and Saga egmont audio for providing an audio arc in return for an honest review.
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I always enjoy when unusual characters provide poignant insights into modern mores. __________________________________________________

🎧 Luke Francis delivers a good performance. A laid back listen. 

Big thanks to NetGalley and Saga Egmont Audio for providing me with an ALC in return for an honest review.
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