Meet Oliver Tate, 15. Convinced that his father is depressed ("Depression comes in bouts.
Like boxing. Dad is in the blue corner") and his mother is having an affair with her capoeira teacher, "a hippy-looking twonk", he embarks on a hilariously misguided campaign to bring the family back together.
Meanwhile, he is also trying to lose his virginity - before he turns sixteeen - to his pyromaniac girlfriend Jordana.
Will Oliver succeed in either aim? Submerge yourself in Submarine and find out . . .
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, None
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/03/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780241955154
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by laphroaig
Oliver Tate, Submarine's hero, or perhaps anti-hero, observes his life through the lens of a number of teenage obsessions: his parents' marriage, the collection of words, his girlfriend and sex. Submarine does not have a plot in the traditional beginning-middle-end sense, rather this is Oliver's view of the world and it is told in his voice, at times sardonic, at others times sharply introverted and difficult to understand. Oliver is Submarine's greatest asset, but also its weakness. He is astute about some of the world around him and his observations are peppered with humorous barbs: "In the Karma Sutra, the penis becomes the lingam and the vagina becomes the yoni. These words will add a certain mystical resonance, like very poor lighting, to the congress."Yet in other ways he is unpleasant, irrational, cruel and it can be difficult to wish well of him, or even pay attention. At these times the book flounders, unpropelled by plot, tied by a lead character who is puzzled and immune from the life around him.Still, Submarine remains witty, biting and, in its own way, charming.