Taking Apart the Poco Poco (novel)
(London: Fourth Estate, 1995; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995; London: Fourth Estate, 1996[pb]).
Thursday morning. Each member of the Edwards family opens the front door of their ordinary house in turn . . . and steps into the unknown. John finds himself facing one of the crucial decisions of his life as he lunches on crab paste sandwiches with the enigmatic Mrs Clarke, while Margaret, his wife, discovers both terror and passion at the breast clinic of the local hospital; their teenage daughter Ann experiences religious visions and sexual threats on the way to an evangelical hoe-down, and eight-year-old Stephen is deflected from his journey to school and ends up in the clutches of the unpredictable blotherin man. Only Raymond the dog has a glimmer of what is going on, and he’s suffering from a romantic entanglement of his own.
“Deliciously funny . . . The humour is quiet but my laughter wasn’t.” (The Observer)
“Affectionately and acutely observant of life’s fatuities and its dreadful, secret, individual fears.” (TLS.)
‘Taking Apart the Poco Poco is a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kind of book one always wants to read but can never find.’ Nick Hornby, The Observer, one of his books of the year.
Adam Mars-Jones was one of the Booker judges when Taking Apart the Poco Poco was submitted in 1995. He was so incensed that he was unable to promote its cause that twelve years later, when asked to contribute to the Observer’s ‘Best of Booker’ series, he devoted his contribution to complaining that my novel didn’t win in its year!