Drowning is Fine
‘Angry. Funny. Nightmarish. ArseHole-ish. Painful and sad …a tremendously smart, darkly comic, and surprisingly moving tale of life in today’s London. It will definitely get your head spinning. You may even discover it’s your own life in print…’
My Life is a Trombone
Daniel Hickman will do whatever it takes to become a great artist. He escapes from a meaningless job by fabricating mental illness and he escapes from an equally meaningless art scene by fabricating tiny clay heads. But nothing seems to give him the freedom he craves.
Danny is also desperate to find love—to break the catastrophic cycle of painful confusion that he seems to be magically bound to; but his attempts to find a partner—indeed to have any kind of satisfying sexual encounter—only seem to ensnare him in more confusion, shame and loneliness.
A chance encounter with a Russian criminal followed by one of the more bizarre of Daniel’s romantic failures leads him to an unusual and psychologically liberating evening with a prostitute which, in turn, leads to an emotional Armageddon that threatens to obliterate him.
Drowning is Fine, is the tragi-comic coming-of-age story of Daniel Hickman, a young man struggling to survive as a sane man in love and an artist in dystopian London; goals which turn out to be two aspects of the same apocalyptic mission—to see the world as it is, in all its sordid beauty.
DROWNING IS FINE IS OUT NOW.
You can buy an expensive copy in my shop, or a much cheaper copy from most (many? some? definitely some) standard online bookstores.
You can also read the opening twenty-odd pages here.
By Ben Sutherland from Forest Hill, London, European Union – Bridge over Peckham CC BY 2.0
For all his faults, Hickman is a modern-day Blakeian mystic in a culture where this can never mean anything outside the dubious romance of self-sabotage and self-destruction, hence why Daniel's arseholish nature rises to the fore in a novel whose conventional form only reanimates the ghost of [our] highest values. - Steve Mitchelmore (This Space: read his full review here: bit.ly/3zB6BpE)
…the insights and wisdom at the core of this book make it both moving and tragi-comic and lend it great depth, often lacking in modern literature. - Amazon Review (‘David Moore’)
I think it's a fucking masterpiece. It's everything I look for and long for in a novel, and so rarely find. It's magical, it's Art with a capital A. It's already leapt into my Holy of Holies category of beloved books. - Jeanne Campos
…brutally honest, funny, bleak, painful and has a clear ring of truth about it …I literally can't think of any other writer living today who understands these times with the same clarity as Darren Allen. - Amazon Review (Tom Fryer)
…bloody good …the last forty pages or so are utterly brilliant - Goodreads review (‘Derek James Baldwin’)
I loved it. I'd pretty much given up on modern novels, finding them strangely blank. - Twitter comment (‘Garry’)
One of the best I read about friendship, love, and existential questions. The novel is a blend of satirical, tragical, philosophical inquires to capture the absurdity of human predicament. - Goodreads review (‘Olesia Altynbaeva’)