Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 21, 2022

The Book Tour, by Andi Watson

As you can see if you scroll down my Categories menu till you reach publishers, I read more books from Indie publishers than from anywhere else, and that is because, in Australia anyway, they publish IMO the most interesting books. But over at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings #ReadIndies month is in full swing, so I thought I’d add a small contribution from Top Shelf Productions, who publish graphic novels in America.

The author/illustrator of The Book Tour, however, is British.  Andi Watson is a cartoonist, writer and illustrator, who the book tells me, has been nominated for two Eisners, a Harvey and a British Comics Award.  He works in a variety of genres, and his books have been widely translated as well.  All of which meant nothing to me when I stumbled on the book at the library.

But who could resist a book with the title The Book Tour? 

G.H. Fretwell is a minor English author who embarks on a book tour to promote his latest novel, but to say that everything goes wrong is an understatement.  The plot is Kafkaesque in the sense that the hapless writer is alone and lonely and caught up in a nightmare from which there seems to be no escape.  To drive this home, the book is called ‘Without K’.

There is an indifferent wife who’s forgotten all about his tour, and a son who is unavailable for farewells when Fretwell sets off and who stays that way.  He parts company with his suitcase at his destination when he mistakes a chancer for a publicist there to meet him, and by reporting this theft to the police he brings himself to their attention when they are looking for a murderer.

The absurdism nails writerly anxiety.  There are bookshops where there are no customers and bookshops where they have no copies of his book. Each of his events is preceded the day before by an author called F.P. Guise, who has vacuumed up everybody’s disposable income and/or their interest in books.  His accommodation and costs go haywire, and he is accosted by people mistaking him for someone else.  And yes, he is clueless.

Quick and easy to read because the text is a good size, The Book Tour is a bit of lightweight fun. You can see some of the illustrations at Watson’s website, where I discovered that it’s also available in French….

Author/illustrator: Andi Watson
Title: The Book Tour
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions, 2020
ISBN: 9781603094795, pbk., 270 pages
Source: Kingston Library





  1. I hardly ever read graphic novels, its something I’d like to explore more. This does look fun, and the artwork is lovely.


    • I don’t read them much either, possibly because it’s hard for the artist to show character development which is what mostly interests me…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love the sound and look of this Lisa. I’m not much of a graphic novel reader either, but I checked out the drawings on the website and they’re great (as is that cover). May have to check this out…


    • Yes, I like the artwork too… it’s not like that manga style that so many graphic novels have, it feels like reading graffiti to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This book looks very fascinating, Lisa! Makes me think of an old Martin Scorsese movie, ‘After Hours’. Will add this book to my To-be-read list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😊


    • Ah yes, I remember you’ve reviewed a few graphic novels, this one would be right up your alley:)


      • Yes, love graphic novels 😊 Hoping to read this one soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read a couple of graphic novels and quite enjoy them when the story is good. Brings back old days of hanging out with a childhood girlfriend on her farm under a willow tree on a blanket with kittens reading comic books in the late 50s. This one sounds fun.


    • I think they’re be especially appealing to reluctant teenage readers, but this one is meant for adults.


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