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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Captivity by Lander Hawes


Josh Haddon is a well known, you might even say famous, actor. He lives in a luxury flat in an upmarket part of London, can take his pick of the many scripts that come his way, receives invites to show biz parties, gets recognised in the street, and takes advice from his equally-famous neighbour tennis star Jeff Brazer on how to avoid the paparazzi. But as the story follows him on his day to day routine, a picture begins to build of a man living in an emotional vacuum, one who has lost something precious, something that he certainly didn't value at the time but is irreplaceable. Now his days seem purposeless. Sticking strictly to a routine gives him the illusion of activity and purpose, but his mind still wanders, via the photo album prominently displayed on his coffee table, to the non-so distant past before he was well known, yet life was somehow better.

I read Captivity straight after a deeply-immersive stream of consciousness atmospheric narrative, and at first found it a shock.
The tone of the narration seems simplistic, lacking in stylistic flourishes, but they're Josh's words, capturing in detail the smallest happenings of his days, and equally adroitly avoiding any emotional issues.

It seems at first to be a story concerned with the superficialities of life - money, cars, women - but it's a slow-burn revelation of character which explores the downside of fame, and the concept of  'captivity' in a variety of ways.  He's still held captive by his past - his early married life in the suburbs, the empty days between small acting jobs, the sudden end of this time, coinciding with a meteoric rise to fame. And now, although Josh may have found fame and fortune but they haven't brought freedom with them. In fact they've brought a new form of captivity; the unwanted attention from fans and journalists, the gilded cage of his flat, his image of who he is, and even the glamour and glitz of his new life all trap him in different ways. Faced ultimately with a choice between real friendship and the superficial glitter of fame, he chooses fame. I think how the reader views the ending will depend on their own views of life - me, I found it sad.

Maryom's review - 5 stars 
Publisher - Unthank 

Genre - contemporary adult fiction




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