Trading Vincent Crow
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Why I wrote this book
I wrote the book largely for my own entertainment. My work has varied from management in both emergency and development programmes, which are often very intense, but can also include periods in remote rural areas with absolutely nothing at all to do in the evening.
It is during the later that I tend to let my imagination escape for a while and immerse in a bit of writing. The broad idea of the book relates to a man in America who swapped a paperclip on e-bay, and after many more swaps he eventually got himself a house. In ‘Trading Vincent Crow’ this idea was taken to the extreme that Vince has to trade his entire life every 3 months until he gets to where he thinks he needs to be. The book is quite episodic, as each trade-up is in a different place with different interactions and characters. As a result, the inspiration for each chapter has varied considerably. For example, in my own formative years I had quite a number of jobs washing-up in the kitchens of different pubs and bars, an experience that I have loosely drawn upon for elements of the first chapter. Later on in the story there is an explosion caused by a cook trying to kill insects that are on the cooker with a large canister of spray, whilst the gas rings are still lit. This actually happened to a cook on a team I was with when I was doing a job in Uganda. The destruction achieved was quite incredible as I recall. Amongst other things, most of the shelves in the room and their contents had been brought down to the floor, and the windows had been shattered. Fortunately, the damage to the cook was far less severe.
Why is it different?
‘Trading Vincent Crow’ is a funny and appealing book. It revolves around the original idea that someone can trade-up their entire life for a totally new one every three months in order to become more successful. Despite this slightly unusual approach to life, the actual challenges of starting new jobs and working with new people in new places are ones most of us can relate to, and adds to the enjoyment. The funny dialogue and unpredictable yet disastrous situations are teamed with a plot that scampers along to make page turning inevitable.
Why should a reader buy it?
This is a book for anyone who has ever worked in a frustrating job, with unsociable hours, on a minimum hourly rate, and dreamt of there being something more to life. It’s also for anyone who’s realised they are actually just a cog in someone else’s world and aspirations, rather than living for their own. In more practical terms, it’s a wonderful distraction for someone about to embark on a long-haul flight, or for someone who has just found out upon reaching the airport that their flight has been delayed by several hours. The time will whizz by. Mostly though, it’s for anyone who wants to escape for a while into a world where you can enjoy the delights of some other poor sod trying to keep their head above water for a change, rather than doing it yourself.
When asked who he compared his writing to the author told us
I recently read a couple of books by Dave Barry and appreciated the way that he sticks to the plot whilst retaining an unwavering collision course with the punch-line. I aspire towards something similar with my own writing. I have also enjoyed the writing of Gerald Durrell when he would step back from the apparent chaos surrounding him and delight in the entertainment of others’ quirks and personalities, without belittling or criticising. P. G. Wodehouse, when in Jeeves and Wooster mode, produced wonderful sparks of dialogue (including Wooster’s telegrams) and miscommunications. The joy of misunderstood communication is also a feature in Trading Vincent Crow.