It was on something of a whim that I opened the first page and stepped into the curiously melancholic world of, Tim Ginger.
In a life dotted consistently with sudden decisions based on the tiniest of facts, this proved one of my better choices. And, if you’re finding yourself curious about what drew me to Julian Hanshaw’s latest work, it was the surname Ginger, simply that.
The story Julian tells within drifts beautifully between light and dark places, taking the reader seamlessly from laughter to tears at the turn of a page. The pace is consistently gentle as we follow the titular, former military test pilot turned author, Tim Ginger, from the solitude of his desert caravan on a short book promotion tour of the conspiracy theory circuit. As the journey slowly unfolds we witness a man struggling with the day to day of life after the sudden loss his wife many years earlier. A man who now comforts himself with the lonely peacefulness of his desert home and his own love of cricket. A man who possibly harbours a secret from his days as a military test pilot. A man who is about to step foot into his hazy past via a chance encounter.
The perfect mix of witty dialogue, curious characters, deep heart-wrenching moments and constant intrigue that permeate every page had myself as reader completely lost in wonder. The melancholy soaked story of Tim Ginger is a beautiful thing.
The love of the subject matter shines through from start to finish. In one particular snippet of dialogue, Tim Ginger, speaks of how he and his cricket friends would chat about the obvious superiority cricket has over its American cousin sport of Baseball. The passion Julian obviously has for the gentleman’s game pours from the pages and actually had a lifelong cricket hater such as myself wondering if I’d actually missed out on the greatest sport on earth all these years, that alone speaks volumes about the strength of the writing and the magical storytelling prowess of the writer.
The artwork is of a simplistic, sketch style that fits the book perfectly in a less is more sort of way. The art in Tim Ginger, which is also down to Julian by the way, compliments the story rather than drowning it. There’s never too much going on visually that you lose the magnificently gentle flow of the words, the marriage between both is undoubtedly a happy one and one that is destined to capture readers imaginations everywhere.
The dialogue between characters is never forced, never unrealistic or weak. Every line comes from a genuine place that feels natural, and even the bit part players have tremendous levels of depth that allow the reader to empathise on a level a lot of similar work fails to reach.
My desire for the quirky and curious led me into the life of Tim Ginger. It was a journey that will stay with me long after the last page was turned. Deeply moving, brilliantly witty, and wonderfully written, with a big heart worn firmly upon its sleeve. Thank God for little steps off the beaten track that so often bring such rich rewards.