brave man seven storeys tall

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will ChancellorA Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor
Published by Harper Collins on 7/8/2014
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Buy from IndieBound


Owen Burr’s hopes of competing in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are dashed when he is blinded in one eye during his final college water polo match. Before his father Joseph, a well-known classics professor, can help him plot out his next steps, Owen decides to go to Berlin and attempt life as an artist. Soon, he is taken in by an art collective with questionable intentions while his father organizes a speaking tour that will allow him to search for his son

It’s clear from the beginning of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall, as the story of Joseph’s heartbreak is woven into the action of Owen’s blinding water polo match, that Chancellor can write. Sadly, the book soon seems to split in two, with half of it favoring a fast talking, dialogue-heavy style that feels too stark against the more meditative foundation established in the beginning of the novel. While the plot Chancellor writes for Owen in Berlin is a fascinating one, the change in voice makes it feel a little like a misplaced short story sandwiched in a much better novel.

Though the two halves come back together toward the end of the book, which is incredibly strong, the middle remains disconnected and uneven. Still, the standout moments of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall mark the entrance of a new, creative voice in the world of fiction that will be well worth watching in years to come.

  • Ti Reed

    I’ve not seen this one around. Interesting story but sounds a little unbelievable. I’m not sure I buy the blinded artist thing even if it was only the one eye!

    • I was surprised by how willing I was to go with the extravagant story, I just wish the flow was a little better!

  • Wait- he’s not a wrestler? Sorry, couldn’t resist.
    I don’t read much sports oriented fiction but am myself in the midst of a basketball book (go figure)- can’t tell if this is one I should try. Maybe just read the beginning and the end?

    • There’s VERY little sports action in it, so I wouldn’t be worried about it. I would give it a try. It’s getting great reviews (the Kirkus and Flavorwire reviews are really good), but I just really wished that it felt a little more consistent. I think that the comparison in the blurb to the Art of Fielding is really apt to how it felt in the beginning, so if you read/liked that definitely give it a go.

  • hahaha I almost made the same comment as Catherine!

    I kind of hate when the beginning and end of a book are solid, but the middle isn’t… messes with my head when I try to determine how I felt about it overall. I thought you did such a great job explaining what worked and what didn’t in this one. Thanks!

    • It’s such a bummer because some of it was SO strong. I’ll definitely be looking out for his next book, though.

  • This sounds like a really interesting novel, but I’m sorry to hear it felt so uneven!

  • This sounds like it’s mostly well written, but I don’t think I’m excited enough about the story to slog through middle. Like Monika said, great explanation of what worked and what didn’t!

  • S.G. Wright

    Ohh too bad. I had been looking at this one. Good themes but don’t think I will go there now.