For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked out of the car/train window and at all the houses and wondered about the people who lived in them. When I was very small I remember being fascinated by the fact there were all these people living lives I knew nothing about, and that they knew nothing of me, and it was like we didn’t exist. (I was a weird kid). Disraeli Avenue is about a street of houses, and the lives of the people in them. Each short chapter is a snapshot of the person/people living in one of the houses, as well as their, often incorrect, views on the goings on behind other doors. The chapters are told variously through traditional first/third person, invoices, texts, and diary entries.
Disraeli Avenue is a kind of spin-off from Smailes’ novel In Search of Adam, focusing more on the minor characters. I haven’t read In Search of Adam (yet), but Disraeli Avenue worked fine as a stand-alone. On occasion I got a bit confused about who lived where and who a particular narrator was referring to, but it was generally easy to follow. What Smailes does really well in this, that so many other novels fail to do, is create different and distinct voices for each person behind the doors. In places it’s funny, in others kind of horrifying; it’s about relationships, family, and the profound and the inconsequential that goes on behind closed doors. A short, quick read that’s worth your time.
Disraeli Avenue was written to raise money for the charity One in Four, which helps people who have experienced sexual abuse. Through a free download with optional donation, £1500 was raised. Unfortunately, when it was later published in paperback by Bluechrome, the publisher did a runner with the royalties and One in Four received nothing from the paperback sales. The Friday Project has now reissued Disraeli Avenue as an ebook, and all the proceeds will go to One in Four.
I received a free copy of Disraeli Avenue in exchange for an honest review. As it was free, I’m going to also buy a copy so One in Four get the proceeds.