Most people will know Bruce Robinson from his brilliant script and direction of the film ‘Withnail and I’ and that is what first drew me to this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect as film is so different from a novel but I needn’t have worried. Robinson is a huge Dickens fan with the book set in the seaside town of Broadstairs, where Dickens wrote Bleak House, and the novel bearing many Dickensian themes, however it isn’t just a homage to his favourite author. Robinson has a clear and original voice all of his own and creates an intriguing world of hidden turds, Edwardian pornography and home made explosives. I was enthralled by this bizarre, dysfunctional family and young Thomas who tries to make sense of it all. The house they live in is almost a character in its own right and is so expertly drawn by Robinson that I can still smell the dog meat boiling on the stove. I’ve put it as one of my top ten on my World Book Night list because it just has to be read by a wider audience. Get a copy and lose yourself in the world of Thomas Penman.