Tuesday, 22 April 2014

" Fan " by Danny Rhodes

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.....

Hillbsborough 1989.  The worst sporting disaster in British history.  Who can forget those pictures of fans being crushed to death? The feeling of helplessness. The shock of the onlookers who were witnessing the lives being lost.  The discussions of who was to blame. The fear of family and friends of the supporters all over the country.  The shivers felt when You'll Never Walk Alone was played.

Fan is a work of fiction, based around the tragedy of Hillsborough.  The author, Danny Rhodes, was actually there on that day and has used his experience and emotion to write an intense and detailed account of how the event could have impacted someone who witnessed it all.
John Finch was a teenage fan of Nottingham Forest, who travelled all over the country to support his team.  Packed in on trains or buses, himself and his pals would make the journey, home and away, each Saturday and lived for the football season.  The novel is John's story, and flicks between 1989 and 2004, exploring the long term effects of that fateful day......

This is a book about football, yes. But it is more a book about a fan, torn between moving on with his life and remembering the awful past.  The writer brings us into the world of a football fan, the atmosphere oozing from each page. I have never been a football lover and, growing up in Ireland, have never seen the fighting or felt the tension which existed in english football in the 1980s.  I had seen the TV coverage and read reports in the newspapers, but felt removed from it all.  This book brings the reader closer to the supporters, the grounds and the turnstiles. You can almost see the fans gathered in the pubs surrounding the grounds and picture the sea of jerseys and scarves.  John is a deeply troubled man and his world is spinning on its axis.  A trip back to his hometown, and down memory lane, can only make or break him....

Danny Rhodes has bared his soul with this book.  Raw, intense and profound, it is a book that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.  You don't have to know anything about football to understand the meaning of this book.  You just need to understand grief, trauma and reality.


Fan is published by Arcadia Books and is available in paperback and ebook format

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