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Making an attempt to sum up this book in a brief review is more challenging than rescuing a stubborn African grey parrot from a tall tree, armed with a ladder, a fictional park keeper and a finger sucking naked mentalist.
My talents don’t extend that far. So suffice to say that this is one of the most creative, mind expanding books you’ll find. You will laugh (a lot!), cringe, cry, smile, laugh again and find it impossible to put this down.
Read Life Knocks before you read this. You’ll love them both.
Bizarre and strangely beautiful, more please Mr Stone!
Having come to the end of the book, which incidentally kept me reading all day, I can say I enjoyed it. There are moments in there where the writer has written down thoughts many of us have had but probably wouldn’t admit to for fear of sounding a bit barking. However, I think therein lies the joy and meat of this book. I may have to visit a park, find a tree I feel comfortable naming Enid Blyton and see what comes from the pen.
Philosophy and humour go together very well, don’t you think? The heavyweight thoughts that rumble around in our subconscious and question who we are, what we are doing and why, needs to be balanced with some off-the-wall story telling; just to render it palatable and help us digest what the author is trying to say.
Brave, or plain daft, to give up a job and a home to go and live in the local park? To be free of the baggage society insists we carry.
In this multi-coloured monologue, Craig Stone takes people watching (and the minutiae of life watching) to a whole new level.
Times of fear, loneliness and desperation are to be expected, but to wrench so much humour out of the misery makes for some clever, lively narrative.
I laughed, a lot.
My other half wanted to know what on earth was I reading? So I told him that it was about a man trying to discover the The Meaning of Life in a London Park. A park where the trees had names like Enid Blyton and Jeffrey Archer, and he has all sorts of adventures and gets into a lot of sticky situations with dog mess and… other sticky situations, both real and imagined. It’s kind of Alice in Wonderland meets Freud… or something like that?
Original; at times thought provoking and at all other, the crazy workings of a deliciously over-active mind
In a very witty, clever, and funny tone, Craig Stone makes the reader think about the world and everyday life of those homeless people who live around us, and who we seem to ignore or who we simply don’t even see. At the same time, through Colossus’s story we are told an important lesson about appearances and the opinion that people can have of others depending on their situation or looks.
Very rich in metaphors, it may seem to be a difficult book to read. On the contrary, the metaphors are easily recognizable, and we all can understand what it is being said there. This story contains other stories within, that help to understand the overall context of the book.
If you enjoy satirical, funny, very clever stories, this is the book for you. I have given to it 5 stars, but only because I cannot give it 10. One of the best books I have read this year so far.
I was caught up immediately with the characters…if only in desperation to actually find out the lead’s name! I giggled, shivered, snorted, bit my lip, chuckled and laughed out loud much to chagrin of my family…though my reactions did encourage my daughter to read it too!
Incredibly unique in its vision and setting, this book is literally a lexicon of madness. The use of metaphor and description was original and kept me glued to Stone’s vivid writing. Several different stories developed…and I must admit to confusion at times (but in a good way!) and wondered how it would all fit together, but fit together it did and to marvellous effect! It was comedic, horrific, sad, beautiful and touching all at once.
This book will keep you entertained in a way you have never been before…and even when you think you know what will happen…you won’t!
Well worth a read and some extreme escapism! I guarantee you won’t be bored!
He quit his job and dropped out of the white-collar world with all its trappings and amenities. Unemployed, he had to give up his residence. With a sleeping bag and a sackful of clothes he headed to Northwest London’s Gladstone Park, settling in among the homeless, transients, dog walkers and the occasional irritated park worker. His only solace, an A4 notepad and a pen.
Like the author, the main character Colossus Sosloss also quits his job, becomes homeless and sleeps in the park. He learns to adroitly dodge dog poo and falling bird droppings, then deftly hides his bagged personal belongings from the diligent and watchful park employees. Colossus observes the other homeless who reside at the park. Many of them with treatable or controllable mental illness but, in the post-Margaret Thatcher England, such individuals are human refuse. Dumped into society to fend for themselves and spiral downward amongst the neatly-trimmed hedges and glistening, manicured lawn of the sprawling public space.
The character’s travails are reminiscent of a Lewis Carroll-type adventure with subtle Dickensian undertones. Which include a lost parrot and an unfortunate man named Squirrel. We follow Colossus on his journey to the edge of sanity, with humorous interjections and clever idioms. A hero’s quest, that inevitably ends with subterfuge, realization and reflection.
Today, no longer homeless, Craig Stone is probably one of the most promising young writers to grace the indie and self-publishing world. Though at 31, Stone is a surprisingly mature author who seems to transcend the generations. His literary work is suitable for the very young and for those who have lived an interesting life
The Squirrel That Dreamt Of Madness is an imaginative tale that can only come from a brilliant, albeit delightfully demented, mind. Stone mixes humor with the cold, stark reality of life. Everything and everyone, is a metaphor for something either sinister or truthful. Gifted students may soon find this book on their required reading list for their advanced High School contemporary literature class.
The author does not have a long laundry list of writers who inspired him, though he definitely channels some Steinbeckian qualities (the novel was written during the height of the Great Recession) and J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye.
Like Hemingway who retreated to the wild and lawless pre-Castro Cuba to pen his magnum opus The Old Man and the Sea, Stone chose to immerse himself in a colder and wetter climate to experience what his character had to endure. The old adage, you write what you know, still rings resonantly true. Stone certainly writes what he knows, and writes it exceptionally well.
Keep your eye on this guy. If Kerouac, Vonnegut and Douglas Adams all had a literary baby together, his writing would be that baby. He’s talent-in-the-raw and his original descriptions, quirky perspective and striking sense of humor left me literally laughing out loud while reading to the extent that it annoyed people around me. I was dying to know what happened next, yet sad to finish it because I wanted more.