BookBrowse Reviews Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Fishbowl

A Novel

by Bradley Somer

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer X
Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2016, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


The residents of one city apartment building form a satisfying glimpse into the microcosm of humanity in this story told from an unusual perspective.

The reviews have been going swimmingly for Bradley Somer's Fishbowl with a whopping 23 out of the 25 giving the novel 4 or 5 stars. With 16 five-star reviews, this book is sure making a big splash.

Fish eyes
Fishbowl looks at our everyday world through the eyes of Ian, a goldfish, who has fallen out of his window. He views the everyday lives of the extraordinarily ordinary people as he passes by their windows. Just up the street is a construction site advertising "The Future Home" of 180 luxury suites with silhouette people depicted. What would Ian see as he passed by these windows? Bradley Somer creates a feeling of nostalgia by looking at an old, much-used building/life and contrasting it against a new, sterile one (Charlene M).

Fishbowl is cleverly written about a goldfish's journey that actually became a journey of the tenants as well. I found myself intrigued about what was going to happen to each of these characters as the story progressed (Cheryl P).

Dives into quirky asides
This story's creativity reminds me of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, also a good read. If you enjoy stories that are a bit off-kilter, but with memorable characters, then give this book a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised (Daniel A). I loved Somer's mind wandering to things like the amino acids of DNA and the concept of terminal velocity in Ian's descent (Katherine P).

This is not a spoiler alert: Pay attention to the squiggly image of Ian on the right-hand side of the pages, and then flip through the book (Marianne D). I love, love the flip book! What a treasure of a story plus a cool little Ian on each page! (Missie S).

Life in a fishbowl
The novel is able to explore the profundities of the human condition, yet the author does so in a witty and, at times, even comical manner. By delineating the lives of diverse residents of an apartment building, Somer describes each individual's concern with loneliness. Despite the residents' seeming initial anonymity, they ultimately find the beauty of interconnections with others. I became totally caught up in the situations of the many characters and their predicaments (Leslie G).

Poignant, funny, lovely and sad - all the secret lives we live and try to hide in the boxes we inhabit are laid bare but in such a tender and reverent way. Individual stories are woven together masterfully into a storyline that makes sense, leads to a logical culmination and neatly mirrors how our own closely-knit communities are intertwined (Laurin B).

Occasionally murky waters
Usually engrossed in a good book, I found my mind wandering and having to bring it back to the page at hand. Wordiness perhaps? Characters too isolated and offbeat? (Molly K)

It's golden
The writing is amazing – prose that is imaginative and awe-inspiring and similes so fresh they jump off the page. I underlined passages and made so many notations that my pencil ran out of lead! Treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind experience in reading. It's many pluses beyond five stars (Beth B).

The character development was skillfully executed, running the gamut from somewhat pathetic to cheerfully happy, occasionally bringing the reader to the point of sadness, then on to laugh-out-loud moments. It all made me wonder about my own neighborhood where you see folks going to work, coming home, never really knowing each other except for an occasional wave (Elinor M).

This review was originally published in July 2015, and has been updated for the November 2016 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Ancient Apartment Buildings

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kinship of Secrets
    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim
    Of our 20 First Impressions readers who submitted reviews for The Kinship of Secrets, all rated it ...
  • Book Jacket: Empire of Sand
    Empire of Sand
    by Tasha Suri
    Tasha Suri's debut novel, Empire of Sand, reads like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights, both ...
  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Becoming
by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Golden Child
    by Claire Adam

    A deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts

"Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov."
- Savvy Verse & Wit

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Everything I H-D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.