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The Arena of the Unwell

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But I grew increasingly frustrated and bored by this novel as Noah is caught in a continuous cycle of disaffection, drinking and inertia. I would definitely read more by Konemann and when I next feel like getting emotionally sucker-punched I will be giving this a re-read for sure. He also captures with brutal intensity Noah’s his anxiety, his self-hatred and his self-harming, without ever romanticising his spiralling mental health. It has good queer, but not necessarily positive, representation (Mairead, yes; Dylan and Fraser, no).

Finance is provided by PayPal Credit (a trading name of PayPal UK Ltd, Whittaker House, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, TW9 1EH). Konemann renders with heart-wrenching lucidity Noah’s vulnerabilities, his yearning to fit in, to be loved and to belong.I really enjoy books that do co-dependent, messed up relationships well, and this is a great example, and being from Noah’s perspective meant you saw how much he started to ignore everyone else when he really needed them. I don’t feel any particular way about The Arena of the Unwell being cast as a queer book or a music book.

Noah’s chapters are interrupted now and again by articles or snippets of interviews with two of the band’s members, Ryan and Claire, and these were kind of unnecessary. PLEASE NOTE: From 1st of July 2021, shipments from the UK to EU countries will be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) charges. The stage shifts in and out of view as the people in front of me surge forwards and backwards, and I move with them, shut my eyes and open them again and throw my hands in the air. The indie music scene serves as a backdrop to Konemann’s troubling character study, which really adds to the novel’s edgy atmosphere. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Our Culture Mag Limited.

If I have music going, I spend more time skipping songs and looking for something to listen to than I do working on the thing I’m meant to be working on. Though his friend Mairead and his father are clearly struggling with their own issues we learn little about their situations. It puts you on the streets of Camden and leaves you with a sense of what might have changed or stayed the same since the earlier heyday of indie bands.

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As Smiling Politely prepare to release their first album in five years, Noah finds himself pulled deeper into the toxic relationship between Dylan and his brooding, enigmatic friend Fraser. An all too abrupt ending for characters and relationships that, in my opinion, had so much more to give. He soon falls into the arms of Dylan, the cheeky, charming local barman Noah’s never quite had the courage to approach, who takes him back to his flat.

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