Date Published: May 28, 2014
Publisher: Text Publishing Company
Edition: paperback (I got a free e-ARC via Netgalley for an honest review)
Ben and his sidekick, Mikey, run the Target Ball stand in a ramshackle carnival travelling up the east coast. Ben is trying to put his time in the army behind him and make some money. Mikey—AKA Mekong Delta, Fremantle’s answer to Fifty Cent—wants to work on his flow and impress girls.Their marks are the boozed-up blokes wandering sideshow alley in the hope of winning fluffy toys for their girlfriends. Easy pickings—so long as Mikey keeps his big mouth shut. Especially since his tendency to start fights jeopardizes Ben’s lucrative meth-dealing operation…
Inventive, profane and hilarious, The Glass Kingdom is a breakneck tour of rural Australia’s underbelly from the acclaimed author of A Tiger in Eden.
The introduction simply didn't appeal to me. I had a hard time getting into what I expected was part of the bowels of the underworld (the synopsis talks of drug-dealing) which turned out eventually to be a Carnival stall. Basically, the narration takes time getting used to. The book is written in english but australian english is way different from english english and more so, from american english.
Seeing through the eyes of Corporal Ben Wallace, things were a bit of a drag. Ben observes people most of the time, gauging how much money he's going to make for the day by the looks of the people strolling about The Kingdom (name of the Carnival) and looking after his new assistant Mikey.
Ben used to work for the Army before narrowly missing a bomb which burned his upper torso from the neck down. His damaged looks made him more sinister than what his huge build entails so no one would even try to mess with him... until his very own assistant happened.
I originally thought of Mikey as purely a pain in the head. He's a hiphop star wannabe and he and his blabbering mouth screw a lot. Ben always had to take care of him after a bloody ordeal from someone's knuckles. Mikey may be a lot of work but his hiphop lyrics are so funny especially when he makes fun of Miley Cyrus (like Brandon Beal did with Twerk it Like Miley).
Things start going haywire when a betrayal occurs. A third part into the book, I found myself liking Ben a lot that it hurt me when he went out of the picture. Although it was a bit of a headache going through Mikey's language at first, it turns out that Mikey is an ace in the hole as he took over the narration for the pace quickens at a factor of 3.
You're simply going to buckle in for a ride on Mikey's part. I woulnd't have liked him had he not been described as having Gerard Butler's face (I imagine him to have Butler's looks in Attila). But you will definitely like him for his thoughts are so funny, you'd hold your stomach for a stitch.
If this book were a film, it would be a comedic film-noir one.