'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Review: The Goat

Kid’s family arrives in New York for two reasons; to house-sit and mind Doug’s dog named Cat, that comes with a handbook of instructions and information on food, habits and grooming, and for Lisa, Kid’s mum, to appear in a play running for two weeks.
Rumours exist that a goat lives on the roof of the Manhattan apartment block. 

The only person to actually see it is Jonathan who’d had a stroke while on a sailing adventure with wife Doris. He is unable to communicate this to anyone, although he’s tried.

Jonathan is only one of an interesting collection of unusual people that live in the apartment building.

Kid sets out to explore her surroundings. She meets Will, whose parents were killed in the twin towers and never goes out alone, can’t look out of windows, and is terrified of heights.

There is Joff, the blind skateboarder, author and chess player, and his seeing-eye dog, Michigan. Joff spends time at a park where strangers play competitive chess against one another. There he meets the mysterious Mara.

Kenneth P. Gill is still undecided about scattering his father’s ashes. He recalls the relationships he’s had and their outcomes; some with humour, others with regret.

Then there are the walk-in, walk-out characters in the background. The lives of these people are intertwined and at the centre of it all, are the rumours about the goat.

This is book approached in a highly interesting way that looks at the various ways freedom is defined. All the characters begin one way and end differently with lots of laughs, ridiculous happenings, and a wonderful tying up of all the bits and pieces which appear to have no connecting strands, but do.

It is a novel unlike any other that I have read and that’s what makes it stand out. Anne Fleming’s ability to take what seems to be random events and twist them into a fulfilling story is impressive. From the point of view of a goat who survived the clutches of an eagle and how, to the unexpected circus antics of a chair-bound stroke victim, a beautiful story of humanity and liberation due to change, is born.

Title: The Goat
Author: Anne Fleming
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: April 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978782692140
For ages: 11+
Type: Middle Fiction