Submarine

Submarine

4.2 13
by Joe Dunthorne
     
 

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Hello. I’m Oliver Tate, the protagonist.

My ambitions are as follows:
(1) To find out why my father sometimes stays in bed for days at a time.
(2) To find out why my mother’s getting surfing lessons—and probably more—from a hippy-looking twonk.
(3) To lose my virginity before it becomes legal—in just over a

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Overview

Hello. I’m Oliver Tate, the protagonist.

My ambitions are as follows:
(1) To find out why my father sometimes stays in bed for days at a time.
(2) To find out why my mother’s getting surfing lessons—and probably more—from a hippy-looking twonk.
(3) To lose my virginity before it becomes legal—in just over a year.

There are other, lesser characters in the book: Jordana, my love interest; Zoe, whose only real school friend is a dinner lady; and Chips, an outstanding bully. This book might not change my life. But there is no telling how you will react.

Editorial Reviews

Sarah Towers
Submarine is full of…cheekiness. Dunthorne's prose, channeled through Oliver's voice, is funny and dead-on.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Welsh-born Dunthorne delves in his debut into the mind of a troubled 14-year-old boy obsessed with his virginity, his parent's failing marriage and the dictionary. Growing up in Swansea, Wales, Oliver Tate is curious about everything going on around him. Fixated on the personal lives of his parents and neighbors, Oliver compulsively keeps a log of his observations, activities and thoughts, many of which revolve around his new girlfriend, Jordana, she of the fully developed breasts and snogging experience. The two become inseparable and eventually wind up together in the sack. Oliver also believes his mother is having an affair with a family friend, and his growing suspicion leads to a half-baked investigation that only complicates matters at home. As Oliver and Jordana's relationship plays out and the truth about Oliver's mother is revealed, Oliver takes some lumps and learns a few lessons. Some readers will be turned off by Oliver's cruelty-among other things, he bullies an overweight girl at school and poisons Jordana's dog-and others by his precociousness (his log entries include word-of-the-day vocab lessons), but Dunthorne's creation is a true original. (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
The small world of Oliver Tate is detailed in this limp first novel by a young Welshman. Oliver is almost 15, the only child of middle-class parents in Swansea, South Wales, and a self-absorbed smartass. His best friend is Chips, the school bully; he and Oliver make life such hell for a fat girl called Zoe that she's forced to transfer. On a family vacation in Tuscany, he's too busy tricking his father into rescuing him from a mock drowning to notice he's in a foreign country. The story he narrates is sprinkled with diary entries and e-mails; brand names lend it a spurious reality. The first time he has sex it's with his girlfriend Jordana in his parents' bed. (The bed could use the action; the marriage of Oliver's parents is going through a rough patch, and they haven't had sex in months.) Oliver's mother Jill goes to a meditation retreat run by an old friend, Graham, a New Age type who Oliver believes is bent on seducing her. He follows her there, planning an "intervention," but comes off looking like a self-dramatizing jerk, in contrast to the calm, long-suffering adults. (This episode, and its later ramifications, are what you get to chew on in lieu of a plot.) He doesn't manage any better with Jordana, whose mother is having an operation for a brain tumor. Jordana has become newly sensitive to those around her, a sensitivity Oliver has no use for; he ignores her in her hour of need, so naturally she dumps him. Then Zoe shows up, more attractive and many pounds lighter, and devises an ingenious payback. Poor Oliver; it's just not fair. Is suicide the answer? He ends his story with a grandiose vision of his corpse being plucked from the ocean; the shot is all over the Internet and CNN.Any coming-of-age moment is still a long way off. Sharp observations don't count for much beside such an unappealing protagonist. Agent: Georgia Garrett/AP Watt
From the Publisher
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
 
“[Joe Dunthorne is] probably destined to be compared with Mark Haddon and Roddy Doyle.”—The Miami Herald

“This absolutely winning debut novel isn't so much a coming-of-age tale as it is a reflection on what it means to be a certain age and of an uncertain mind.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“A brilliant first novel by a young man of ferocious comic talent.”—The Times (London)
 
“[Dunthorne’s] precocious talent and cheerful fondness for the teenage male are showcased in Submarine. . . . Oliver’s voice is funny and dead-on.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Preternaturally wise, slightly devious and highly entertaining.”—USA Today

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812978391
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/24/2011
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
227,213
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

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