Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession – review

Published by Blue Moose Books

Publication date – 20 March 2019

Source – review copy

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two quiet friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st Century.

‘The figure in Munch’s painting isn’t actually screaming!’ Hungry Paul said. ‘Really, are you sure?’ replied Leonard. ‘Absolutely. That’s the whole thing. The figure is actually closing his ears to block out a scream. Isn’t that amazing? A painting can be so misunderstood and still become so famous.’

LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL is the story of two friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change their world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

Leonard’s mother has just died and for the first time in his life he finds himself alone. Luckily for him, he has the friendship of Hungry Paul and his family. Their evenings are spent playing one of the many board games kept in the kitchen pantry and picking the right biscuit from the biscuit tin.

If you are looking for a delightful way to spend a few hours, then pick up a copy of Leonard and Hungry Paul and get lost in the pages. From the opening line “Leonard was raised alone by his mother with cheerfully concealed difficultly, his father having died tragically during childbirth”, the story works its magic on the reader, charming them as the pages turn.

There are so many lines in this novel that make you stop and think. If I were one of those readers happy to underline and highlight their books, then my copy of Leonard and Hungry Paul would be multicoloured.

Leonard writes content for children’s encyclopaedias, published under other authors names. He longs to write a truly informative and fun book and when he meets Shelley, the fire marshal in his office, the inspiration to write it is unleashed. He also discovers that life can go on and that the unsettled feeling he has lived with was grief by any other name.

Hungry Paul, who’s moniker remains a mystery, is happy to live in the moment, but not in a reckless way. He goes through life with barely a concern. He is happy with his job as stand in postal worker, lives with his parents and is happiest when sat quietly. His default position is quiet. He soon finds that this tendency towards silence and calm is the key to opening opportunities and eventually the key to independence. Helen and Peter are Hungry Paul’s parents. Kind, caring people, still clearly in love, they are caught up in the arrangements for their daughter, Grace’s wedding, distracting Helen from worrying about a much talked about retirement trip, or rather leaving Hungry Paul to go on said trip. You’ll also find out that the reason for the sunfish on the cover is revealed in the novel, and that it is a touching tribute to one of the characters.

There aren’t really any big scenes or pivotal moments in Leonard and Hungry Paul, but then real life isn’t like that. It’s made up mainly of quiet moments, with flashes of excitement and fuss.

A quiet, gentle tale about friendship and self-discovery. A wonderful novel that’s a balm to the soul.

Highly recommended.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Kath says:

    Now wishing I could time travel back to being in Waterstones yesterday where I hovered over this one for a good while. I could do with some balm in book form.


    1. janetemson says:

      There’s always next time you are in there! It is a lovely book.


  2. Balm to the soul is exactly what’s needed at the moment. Great review, Janet.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Susan. I think you’d like this one.


  3. That opening sentence is indeed very appealing….!


    1. janetemson says:

      It gets better the more you read šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. heavenali says:

    This sounds rather delightful. That opening sentence is just great.


    1. janetemson says:

      Ali I think you would really like it. There are loads of wonderful sentences in it šŸ™‚


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