I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Black Dog by Kevin Bridges
Published by Wildfire on August 18, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Coming of Age, Humorous, General
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
THE BLACK DOG is the exciting debut novel from one of Britain's most-loved comedians, Kevin BridgesDeclan dreams of becoming a writer. It's a dream that helps him escape the realities of his life - going through the motions at college and stacking supermarket shelves part-time, whilst fighting a battle with the ever-darkening thoughts in his head.
He has his pet Labrador for companionship and his best friend-turned-mentor, a pseudo-intellectual who works as a greenskeeper at the local municipal golf course, both of which help keep the worst of his anxieties at bay. But following a drunken row with local gangsters, Declan's worries threaten to spiral out of control.
James Cavani - Declan's idol and his hometown's claim to fame - is a renowned writer, director and actor. But despite his success, his past hasn't relinquished its hold of him, and through his younger sister's battle with drug addiction, he finds himself returning to a world he thought he had escaped.
At face value, their lives couldn't be more different, but perhaps fate has a way of bringing kindred spirits together - and perhaps each holds the other's redemption in their hands.
Praise for THE BLACK DOG:
'I've just finished THE BLACK DOG with a massive lump in my throat - what a brilliant book. Touching, raucous, visceral and really funny with some moments of real profundity.' Harriet Tyce
'One of the funniest stand-up comedians in world and now the author of a brilliant novel. Kevin's talent is starting to annoy me now.' Rob Beckett
'Immensely readable, fast moving and an insight into two sides of Kevin Bridges, I really enjoyed it. Kevin's warmth and wit shine through in his first novel. Never a dull moment and an array of engaging, quirky characters. A funny and absorbing read with some great insights into the world of negotiating being famous.' Jo Brand
'I love this book. Brilliantly drawn, believable characters of raw heart and honesty. Cannot recommend enough.' Matt Coyne
'Vulnerable and raw - this is a beautiful debut novel from the king of comedic storytelling.' Tom Allen
'It's funny (obviously) and dark (obviously) but tender and surprising, too.' Bobby Palmer
'Watching Kevin, I was sure he was born to be a stand-up comic, but reading his book it is clear he can do absolutely anything he sets his mind to. I look forward to visiting his Michelin starred restaurant and living on his self-built space community. Everything that is great about Kevin's stand up - the characters he creates, the unapologetic root in working class life, the straddling of worlds - is what's great about this book.' Jon Richardson
The Black Dog is full of social commentary with Bridge’s comedic wit shining through every page. Darkly funny but brimming with life.
The Black Dog is written by an author that is known more for his comedy than his novel writing but that’s all likely to change – he’s added another string to his bow in a stunning debut by Glasgow’s household name, Kevin Bridges. Instantly you are transported into the streets of Glasgow, with authentic dialogue, a strong connection to the working-class plight, and a story that is full of grit and character. It’s a strong offering and the story gave me vibes of Gregory’s Girl – a coming-of-age tale about friendship, forgiveness, and self-awareness.
The Black Dog is a great piece of comedic fiction. It investigates the ordinary lives of ordinary people. There are no airs and graces, they don’t come from affluent backgrounds, they are just getting by – living day to day, I was really taken aback by the depth in which Bridges brought his characters to life. You might change your opinion about some and stay firm on others, but you will feel a connection to them – whether for good or bad reasons. It has all the nuances of a piece of Glasgow fiction – the language, the passion for football, drugs, and a dream of becoming something more.
We all know that Kevin Bridges can create characters, his comedy speaks of his talent for storytelling. The Black Dog takes all of that rolls it into a ball and kicks it into orbit. He has created something so outlandishly normal, with the trappings of dysfunctional families but with hilarity at its core.
Declan dreams of becoming a writer. He knows he has it in him, he’s even signed up to a local art centre to take a writing course. His version of writing isn’t well received by his peers, it’s too visceral and leaves him feeling downtrodden. So, in typical Scottish fashion, he gets completely wasted. This leads to dire consequences and like all Scottish people the morning after – they vow to never drink again.
James Cavani is a local that has managed to make something of himself – well that’s the public perception anyway. He’s living the dream, Hollywood, his writing has made him a household name, and married to his one true love, Lisa. He doesn’t have it all not by a longshot – the Hollywood dream has lost its allure and his agent is close to getting the sack. A home in London that allows him his anonymity, but he wants to go back to his roots, so they decide to move back home to Glasgow. He has to rush back home sooner than anticipated when his sister, Siobhan is rushed to hospital after another overdose. I loved his strength and his loyalty to his family before his career.