chaplin and company mave fellowes

Chaplin and Company by Mave Fellowes

Chaplin and Company by Mave FellowesChaplin & Company: A Novel by Mave Fellowes
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on 6/2/2014
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Buy from IndieBound


Odeline Milk’s days have been pre-scheduled for her entire life; from ritualized meals and slotted television time to precisely documented expenses. But when Odeline is orphaned at eighteen, she is able to leave the restrictions of her small town and seek an audience that will support her dreams of becoming a mime. Lured by an ad for a boat named Chaplin and Company, Odeline takes up residence in one of London’s canal neighborhoods, where she will come to learn the true meaning of community.

Fellowes writes from overhead, peering down and zooming in on each of her characters as they are introduced. She soars through London, building a neighborhood around Odeline, and takes moments to weave the history of the boat in between. What emerges is a beautiful, unexpected coming of age story populated with wonderfully distinct characters.

“London has risen, built itself up like a toy city, stacked itself, crammed buildings against the edges of waterways and railways, so that from the ground these canals are rarely seen. To cross a bridge and glimpse one is a surprise. Life on these waterways is lower than life on the streets around it. It is below the eyeline. A good place to hide.”

Though it is set in modern day, the novel is told in vignettes that echo both the haunting sadness and cheeky charm of silent film. The blend is both surprising and unique, making Chaplin and Company a highly memorable debut.

  • Cynthia White

    I loved the title of this one. Sounds like a book for me!

    The Things You Can Read

  • Jennine G.

    This looks different. Is there any other book(s) you’d compare it to?

    • It was VERY different and I’m having a hard time thinking of anything that really compares. The characters are all really unique and Odeline’s desire to be a performer kind of ties in with books like Night Circus, but it doesn’t have the fantasy element. It would actually be great for a high school class: nothing scandalous content-wise, but some really great themes.

      • Jennine G.

        I will keep that in mind! Thanks!

  • Words for Worms

    This sounds really quirky and lovely. Mimes freak me out a little, but I’m willing to overlook that.

    • I’m with you on that. Thankfully, her mime act is a small part of the story :)

      • Jennifer Smeth

        Mimes and clowns freak me out

  • All I could think about when I saw mimes was the Bachelors on this season of the Bachelorette having to pretend to be mimes for one of their group dates! Haha – I’m ridiculous! It does sound like a unique book, though.

  • Jennifer Smeth

    I’m very intrigued by this one!