Review: Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time – one very funny book…

A great premise: each time pissed off commuter Dan gets delayed on the way to work, he decides to write an email to the MD of Premier Westwood trains, Martin Harbottle, determined to waste just as much of Martin’s time as Martin has wasted of his.


I think anyone who’s ever had to commute will identify immediately with Dan and admire him for the fact he decides to take a stand, no matter how petty and British that stand may initially appear to be. This is both witty and vicious by turn, but it’s saved from being a mere fictionalisation of The Timewaster Letters by the fact that Dan reveals more and more about his life as a journalist on a national tabloid (one about to run into all sorts of trouble in an extremely topical way) as the novel progresses.

As Martin’s life begins to unravel, these elements of voyeurism drive the narrative in an increasingly compelling fashion. Rather wonderfully, the chapter lengths (having apparently been written by author, Dominic Utton, during his own repetitive Oxford to London commute), are the perfect length for any other commuters finding themselves similarly frustrated and in need of something to pass the time.

A great new comic voice, as funny as Adrian Mole’s adult diaries, and every bit as clever as skewering where we’re at as a society right now.

Get your copy here.

About Emlyn Rees

Copywriter, crime writer, comedy writer and editor. We're Going on a Bar Hunt, The Very Hungover Caterpillar, The Teenager Who Came to Tea, The Fight Before Christmas, Come Together, Shabby, Hunted, Wanted, Switch It Off! and Shabby - A Very British Lifestyle, out now.
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2 Responses to Review: Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time – one very funny book…

  1. sandradan1 says:

    I love this idea. SD

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