THE LAST OF THE BOWMANS
J PAUL HENDERSON
Published: Jan 2016
After an absence of some seven years, Greg Bowman returns from America to find his father lying in a bamboo coffin, his estranged brother Billy stalking a woman with no feet and his seventy-nine-year-old Uncle Frank planning to rob a bank. While renovating the family house he is unexpectedly visited by the presence of his dead father and charged with the task of 'fixing' the family. In the course of his reluctant investigations, Greg discovers not only the secrets behind the strange behaviour of his brother and uncle but also an unsettling secret of his father's, and one that brings him face to face with the unintended consequences of his own past.
The Last of the Bowmans is the story of a family on the run from itself in a city with no place to go.
The story starts when 83 year old Lyle Bowman walks into the path of a bus and is run over. Not very funny in itself but J Paul Henderson had me chuckling from the beginning with his one-liners.
This story is about families, their ups and downs, disagreements, loyalties, dislikes and why they are like they are.
Before Greg left for America he fell out with his brother Billy and they hadn't spoken again until their father's funeral. Over the course of this book we discover lots of family secrets and grudges that had been long hidden, Greg finds out what sort of person he really was growing up, life always came easy to him - exams, girls, work, but not so easy for his brother.
My favourite character was elderly Uncle Frank, he was so serious but I found him quite endearing:
".... I'm a bachelor, yes; but I'm not a bachelor by choice. My hat's always been in the ring, it's just that no woman's ever bothered to bend down and pick it up. I don't think women find me all that attractive if you want to know the truth. Jean's mother refers to me as a goblin - did you know that?"
I really enjoyed this story, some of it had me laughing, some of it made me sad and tearful, it was touching at times.
The scenes where Greg's deceased father appears to him and asks him to mend his family were the most memorable and touching for me. Lyle was a dour husband and father who always tried to do his best for his family and didn't want them to fight and argue. He wanted to pass on to another life knowing that they were okay again.
I liked the writing, the quirky storyline with quirky characters, it was definitely different to any other book I've read, but it's also a book that I'll remember for some time.
Thanks to Real Readers for giving me the opportunity to read such an unusual book.