3.53 (284 ratings by Goodreads)
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Everyday we put our lives in the hands of someone else: airline pilots with a phobia of flying; psychiatrists in need of therapy and air hostesses trying to 'do the right thing'. So meet an apparently disparate group of people all connected to the tragic death of a stowaway in 1978. It's twenty-three years later, and despite their attempts to build new lives, the connections begin to emerge and, along with them, the truth. A truth held on blackbox recordings, answermachine tapes, sitcom outtakes, and court more

Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 129 x 193 x 40mm | 262g
  • Headline Publishing Group
  • Headline Book Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747265313
  • 9780747265313
  • 1,769,649

Review quote

'One of the year's outstanding debuts' -- Time Out 20020515 'Genuinely original (and how often can you say that?), Blackbox is a masterpiece of loose-limbed, confident storytelling that invites more than 20 characters to your bedside to count down 800 heartbeats before tail-spinning to a dizzying conclusion that is as inevitable as it is utterly unpredictable. A mixture of flippant wit, gentle wisdom, tangible ambition and a vibrant (and apparently unhinged) imagination that skids across emotional frequencies at the touch of a dial, Nick Walker's writing is modern but not 'modern', cool but no cucumber and rubber-neck compelling from start to finish. Read this on a plane (Go on. Dare you) but make sure you read it. Secure your own oxygen mask before helping someone else. You may blow into this whistle to attract attention. Assume the crash position. Brace for impact. Brace ... ' -- Patrick Neate, author of Twelve Bar Blues and winn 20020201 'A clever, filmic black comedy, in 841 chapters, whose 20 characters all have some connection to the death of a Chinese stowaway. His characters are brilliant, his dialogue sparkles... and it's hilarious' -- Guardian 20020323 'Walker has put together a random bunch of characters, constructed an extraordinary set of links between them, and then thrown them into a lurid plot... He jumps backwards and forwards, uses the chapter structure to allow off-the-wall reflections without jarring the narrative and generally behaves as if he is enjoying himself enormously while writing this. The plot makes its relevations at such break-neck speed that the effect is similar to watching 24' -- The Times 20020612 'Blackbox is an intense conceptual comic thriller. It's very skilfully done' -- Big Issue 20020612 'A satisfying read... it's hard to banish the suspicion that these plot strands won't add up but Blackbox is invigorating enough to make such criticism seem churlish and funny enough to let you almost forget the tragedy that lies at its heart' -- Sunday Herald 20020612 'Nick Walker's BLACKBOX is the best first novel I've read for a while: original, intelligent, compelling and written in perfect bite-sized chunks for between naps' -- Patrick Neate, Guardian 20020629 'The action veers between countries, time zones, past and present, but Walker controls the loose, filmic structure beautifully, drawing us in to what is a gripping and compelling novel' -- Allan Radcliffe, The List (Glasgow) 20020628 'Walker offers an active imagination and wild morbidity, a sense of Ballardian mythology and wonder and prose of pared distinction' -- The Guardian 20020713 'Highly skilful, original black comedy in 841 chapters presenting fractions of lives in tiny sections that connect in a confusing and enthralling manner that is intriguing and compulsive. But you need to keep your wits about you. Headline believes it is very much for the cult market - I think it could be wider' -- Sarah Broadhurst, Bookseller 20020927 'Complex narrative works well. and the black humour running through the novel softens the sucker-punches that fate seems to provide. In all, this is an assured debut, and a rare case of an original format enhancing the narrative rather than obstructing it' -- City Life, Manchester 20020710 'Examine the story's complex connections too closely and its pattern is missed, but step back and view the web in its entirety and its extraordinary construction is revealed' -- Play, The Times 20030101 'Bizarre, compelling and totally original in structure. Not only a dynamic debut but, more importantly, a cracking good read' -- Luton on Sunday 20020714 'An original and well-received debut' -- Publishing News 20020927 'Funny, black as soot and totally fascinating' -- Big Issue in the North 20030301 'Nicely judged blend of black comedy and mystery...morbidly funny' -- Leeds Guide 20030301show more

About Nick Walker

Nick Walker is a writer and performer with talkingbirds, a mixed media production company creating films, videos, theatre works, web projects and radio. His work has been screened on television and in cinemas, and presented to audiences from Slovakia to Seattle. He lives in Coventry. Blackbox is his first more

Rating details

284 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 21% (60)
4 29% (82)
3 36% (102)
2 11% (30)
1 4% (10)
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