#BookReview
George: A Gentleman of the Road – P.A. Davies

 

An author and a homeless guy, what do they have in common? Not much, until eighty-year-old George reveals his fascinating and heartwarming life story …

— Introduction —

Imagine this: it is a sunny day and you decide to treat yourself to a coffee on one of Manchester’s squares in the inner city. You are reading your book and sipping coffee when you become aware of a beggar approaching. No way can you let the old man spoil the moment – and your coffee. You come up with an excuse but as soon as the words have left your mouth,  you know the beggar can see right through you. What if I told you that this coincidental meeting was the starting point of a somewhat strange relationship and a sometimes unbelievable but most of all most touching life tale you have ever heard?

— Storyline —

When the author finds himself enjoying George Archer’s novel along with a coffee – he searches his brain for the perfect excuse not to give the beggar money but at the same time, not to be rude either. “Ich spreche kein Englisch” is what he says but the old beggar is not fooled for a moment hence his reply: “That’s ok, son, neither dae Ah!” (the Scottish accent – full of wonderful pronunciations!). Even though the author is caught in the act, he feels respect for the old man and that is how their ‘cooperation’ starts. What follows is not only the start of a unique friendship but also an insight into an eighty-year-old life that has seen many a sorrow and lived through guilt, love, regret, anger and fear, of misfortune and happiness, of missed opportunities and lost souls. George relates how his great-great-grandparents left the hard life in Ireland during the Potato Famine and came to Glasgow to find work. Glasgow is where George was born and grew up eighty years ago.

At age 18, George decided to join a fishing trawler bound for the Atlantic Ocean. Little did he know how hard the work or how intimidating his captain Isaac would be. Despite all this, the most frightening experience hit George when he was back in the docks but that is quite another story. We learn to know Isaac and the hard life the ‘tenacious Scot’ led before becoming the trailer’s captain. George, meanwhile, discovers the advantages of working for Isaac as everyone around him treats him with a newfound respect. Apart from Angus, the landlord of The Jolly Piper. Fate wills it that Angus has a beautiful daughter, Lilly, and for both George and Lilly it is love at first sight. How Angus ever came to agree to Lilly and George marrying … that is quite another story! Each time George and the author meet up in George’s ‘office’ in Piccadilly Gardens to share a coffee, George imparts yet another episode from his extraordinary life before he came to be the old man living on the Manchester streets.

— My Thoughts — 

Can you love an author’s character and at the same time judge him for seemingly being pretentious? Or are we all like him and would rather look away? Can you be drawn in by the story and feel enriched to realise the author .. is not? Or is he but just does not want to show it? Is the author the ‘I’ in the book and if so, what was George’s impact on him and his life? More importantly: what happened next?? These questions kept hurtling through my mind after I finished George. Absolutely love the old, stubborn, strong yet vulnerable ‘gentleman of the road’ prepared to share his life tale with a total stranger. It cannot have been the prospect of a whisky because even at his lowest, George maintains his dignity and sets the rules. I cannot divulge too much into what urged George to share his fascinating story but he did – and I am absolutely thrilled to have heard it. Follow the life of the shy boy on the docks, not knowing what to expect of his maiden voyage and the ship’s remarkable captain Isaac. If there is anyone, apart from George, who came to life in this story it is Isaac and boy, what a big heart hides within that tough exterior. I loved the man and his moving tale.

— About the Author —

P.A. Davies Author Image

P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester and lives there still as he loves the multi-cultural, modern city. After having “dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories” the author started his writing career in 2009 resulting in his first novel Letterbox  (2012), a fictional tale on the 1996 IRA bombing of Manchester. In the author’s words thus “the writing bug became firmly embedded” within him. A memorable encounter with one of Manchester’s homeless resulted in this book, George: a Gentleman of the Road. The author’s third novel The Good in Mister Philips (2014) is something completely different, an erotic novel, and Nobody Heard Me Cry (2015) tells the story based on facts, of Manchester’s darker side.

— Book Info — 

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 Paperback   238 pages
 Publisher   MJD Publishing (15 Feb. 2013)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  0957263910
 ISBN-13   978-0957263918

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