The Drowning of Arthur Braxton Review...

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


'Arthur Braxton runs away from school. 

He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse. 

He discovers a naked woman swimming in a pool. 

From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.' 

This is a weird-ass book.
 A swearing, vulgar, disturbing, weird-ass book. 
Which is pretty much everything I love in a book.  

The book is split into chapters according to character, each one linked to its own element of either: air, fire, water or earth. 

The book begins in the past, in the hay day of the bathhouse which were used by water healers. Were the sick, needy and desperate came to be healed by three healers.   

The bathhouse then falls into disrepair, where Arthur finds it when hiding from school bullies. Here he finds a collection of characters, a singing mermaid girl, a girl carrying a rope, a pair of twins, an old man and a girl who cannot leave the water.

The whole of Arthur's story seems to be kept in a dream state when he is visiting the baths. He hardly ever thinks about any of the strange goings on. The happenings there are so eerie and many times keep you quite uncomfortable to read. 

Throughout the book the key is to look for the small clues Smailes leaves to piece together what is going on. I managed to pick up on a few of these and as soon as I did I could not put it down. 

The whole story is laced in magic and myth, but is a completely contemporary novel. I could read it over and over. 

The fact that it is based on the Manchester baths is just brilliant because that is such a brilliantly creepy setting. 

I would recommend this to anyone. A fellow Gaiman or Burton fan, a person who loves fairy tales and disney, or a person who hates fairy tales and disney. However it would definately would be more appreciated by an older audience and be prepared to read the first chapter with caution when on public transport. 

My Rating 4.5/5