Reviews of the book

P.M. Heywood is a sublime writer. You can tell he loves what he does from the back cover blurb and introduction onwards. I particularly enjoyed his observations on Richard Playfairs marriage (or lack of it) and the inevitable, awkward unfolding love story. His cast of characters on the trip around Scotland are as colourful as his prose. Above all this book is about escape from the drudgery of life/relationships/disliked careers and disappointed ambition. Well done! Sam Brownfield 27.6.17

***

Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. Such a refreshingly quirky yet believable tale and I loved the descriptions of the Scottish landscape. An incredible debut for a clearly talented writer. Mandy Brown 28.6.17

***

P.M. Heywood’s The Goose Samaritan tells the semi-true story of London-based Richard Playfair who narrates us through his unlikely journey to the Scottish Highlands where he delivers geese to various distinctive characters. Escaping the mundane restrictions of a loveless marriage, this one spontaneous decision leads Richard to understand life does not have to come to a routine standstill during middle-age. The book concentrates predominantly on characterisation and interaction; each a reflection of the contrasting backgrounds of urban and rural scenery.

Our narrator, Richard Playfair ‘is unhappy’ – as the back cover tells us – but more than that; he is jaded by life in the City fused with his marriage to the rather uninterested and uninteresting Sally. Although we do not experience Sally’s point-of-view, we certainly pity Richard’s miserable patience and empathise with him when he falls for someone else.

It is testament to Heywood’s writing that even the pets take on a persona of their own; the lovely Lottie being shown a great deal of affection by the narrator and consequently the reader. The detailed characterisation really comes to the fore as Richard meets each of the goose-recipients. Each has their own eccentricities, magnetisms, and peccadillos. Of course, this is only through our narrator’s eyes which is a judgmental perspective we never know how far to accept.

Combined with the beautiful ink illustrations by Chris Fairbairn – including a Tolkienesque map of Western Scotland nestled in the front endpaper – the story becomes a perfectly understated adventure. The Goose Samaritan showcases Scotland at its best. It evokes feelings of scenic and human patriotism in fellow Scottish readers, while stirring up a desire to visit the West Coast of Scotland for those yet to explore it. P. M. Heywood holds a respect for the landscape as much as for the people who have inspired his characters: one can only look forward to his next work. Sebastian Burroughs, May 2017

***

I have just finished reading your lovely book. I thought it was wonderful. Thank you. Of course, I might be biased. Having spent most of my life as a voracious reader of every type of publication, my late charge to fatherhood reduced my reading schedule drastically. In fact, The Goose Samaritan feels like the first novel I have properly read in those years.

Some while ago, my wife and I toured Scotland in a camper van with our two border terriers three years running and know most of your roads and places quite well. The fact I now live in the country and own a Landrover Defender myself only adds to the story.  Objectively, I thought the prose was fabulous. So often these days, writing is a drab white, grey and black in a rushed manner to move to the next scene. Your language included every colour and allowed the reader not only much vividness but also the ability to linger rather than rush. I await your next scribe. Mark. May 2017

***