Jeffrey Lewis

For some novels, the first-person form seems extraordinarily well chosen, and so it is here. Louie, the narrator, is a TV writer on a superior TV cop show, Northie (Lewis's own experience as a writer on Hill Street Blues no doubt comes in handy).

The novel looks back at his whole life, from the time his father, a TV producer, left home for another woman, deftly laying bare the tensions this produced between Louie and both his parents; his uneasy relationships with friends, women and colleagues; the arc of his writing career; his failed attempt to preserve the integrity of his show; and his efforts to get closer to his father as his own star rises and his father's declines.

Highly intelligent yet never quite at ease in the world, Louie is a subtle, mordant, ironic observer of himself and others. One suspects, given the similarity in names (Lewis/Louie), a strong autobiographical element. But whether the details are true is beside the point. The novel feels true as a work of literature. It's only 150 pages and the print is large. You can read it in two hours. It will be two hours very well spent.

Theme Song for an Old Show
By Jeffrey Lewis
HAUS £7.99