'I had met a lot of special people through newsagents' windows, and spent many enjoyable days with them. I found out about a community I never knew existed, the heart of rural Britain. I learned that everyone had a story to tell, and that people who live very ordinary lives are much more fascinating than explorers or pop stars.'
John Osborne's second book is a comic voyage through small-town Britain via the ads in newsagents' windows: lost kittens, personal ads, a second-hand bike for sale, yoga classes ... Moving into an unfurnished house, John at first uses the ads in newsagents' windows to buy practical things like a bed and a settee. But on impulse one day he replies to an advert for a psychic masseur named Lucy, who tells him some startling home-truths as he sits on her settee in his pants.
So begins a year of self-discovery and a wild obsession with newsagents' windows, which take John to a shoe-exhibition, to an Alan Ayckbourn play, to a wrestling match. He finds himself the owner of a man's entire video collection, a second-hand bike, a clapped-out Ford Escort - and discovers a community of a bygone age. Looking to improve his German, he meets a pretty German girl named Leni …
Hilarious and thought-provoking, The Newsagent's Windowrestores our faith - in our fellow human beings, in a world without ebay - and reveals the odd things that can happen if you let newsagents' windows dictate your day.
John Osborne graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2004. He has taught English in Austria and Germany, and has had poetry published in the Guardian and the Spectator. Radio Head is his first book.
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