This book has 6 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
I’m not a bird watcher, but I am a murderer - so, I could immediately relate to the protagonist - Ted Banger - at that level. Kevin Parr’s book is a fast-paced and exceptionally funny read, that will make you laugh out loud. Probably best, therefore, not to read ‘The Twitch’ in a public library, where laughing is generally frowned upon. Instead, why not buy the book and then leaf through it in a provincial butcher's shop? After all, butchers are generally apple-cheeked and fun-loving people – and being surrounded by dead animals is very comforting.
As a birder of many years this book attracted me. I am aware of the twitcher group, but have never been drawn to it. I have met twitchers and the characters in this book drew very little from reality. I found that none of them had any depth to them. I could not identify with them, love or loath them, they lacked substance. While the constant list of ticked-off birds was interesting and well researched, I wonder what it would mean to a non-birder. Probably little and could well become tedious. Altogether I feel I can only recommend this as a holiday read or to any anti-twitchers who want to reassure themselves that what those people do is close to a demonic cult.
The Brits have a great track record of producing novelists with the skill to write compelling dark humour and this first novel from Kevin Parr puts him in good company, with the likes of Ben Elton, Tom Sharpe and Christopher Brookmyre springing to mind. Don't get me wrong the name dropping is not for comparison with style its to help prove my point - the Brits do dark comedy very well. I liked this book from the off, the lead character Edward Banger has a certain charm that makes his subsequent actions seem right whilst they are clearly wrong. Its that appeal that ensured at least in my case that I was firmly on his side. The story gathers pace quickly and I found my self immersed in a world where I am sure some if not all of us have found ourselves - sex and murder aside of course. I refer in particular to the relationship Edward has with his wife and family which is particularly well observed and I found myself nodding more than once at the challenge of raising a teenage daughter. I have no intention of giving away the plot though, the author and Unbound did a good enough job of that during the funding phase and needless to say that was enough to pique my interest in to buying the book. You should too - its a cracking read and if laughter is the best medicine then this book should be stocked by your local pharmacy.
I really enjoyed this refreshing, funny book and it gave me a scary insight into the evil world of twitching... The Twitch is a real page turner, and has you laughing out loud. The central character, Ted Banger, is truly dislikeable, obsessive, jealous and self indulgent, unconcerned by the trail of upset and disruption he leaves, in order to get his prize. There's nothing nice or sweet about bird watching, and the birds themselves, (unless they're half- attractive bar maids), are generally ignored by Ted and his twitching buddies. With bucket loads of 'laddish' behaviour - sex, drink and other dark deeds, Kevin Parr takes his jokes to extremes. Wicked and hilarious, 'The Twitch' is a great novel about modern UK lives.
A really enjoyable, funny & entertaining gem of a book. Although more of an armchair birdwatcher now and a very bad twitcher who managed to dip a thousand waxwings at Woburn, I've certainly come across the zealots of the birding world brought to life in this book so cleverly. Reading it in conjunction with my twitter feed firing out the megas following recent storms made it seem so real. Having stood at Hayle estuary happily observing a greenshank and then watched in amazement as a car pulled up, two gortexed loonies leapt out, hardly stopped for more than five seconds shouting "that's the yellowlegs bagged" before racing off again, I now understand why! Could it even have been Mr Banger himself? Read this book and laugh as much as I did!