Reviewing a first book is difficult, whilst appreciating the gargantuan effort by the writer is it fair to judge alongside an established author? Happily this is not an issue with ‘The Radio’… an extremely enjoyable and sharp debut by M Jonathan Lee. Mr Lee is clearly an accomplished writer, but his storytelling here shines.
Others have commented on the dark nature of the tale, and whilst I agree, I felt the dry humor and honesty of the characters really made the book. I found the main protagonist both sympathetic and a little tragic, his surroundings chaotic and all too familiar to family life. Chapters of the book are very moving and whilst the final twist is beautifully judged there were a number of outstanding unresolved issues that made me hope for a follow up in the near future.
The book works on a number of levels, foremost it is a great story, but its depth and emotional weight is also handled with a skilled and very light touch. It would be a disservice to describe this as a very good debut, it is simply very good book. Highly recommended.