Firm is Robert Cowan’s fourth work, following on from The Search for Ethan, Daydreams and Devils, and (my personal favourite) For All is Vanity.
In Firm we have a much less experimental approach than seen in ‘Vanity’ and what feels like a more melancholy Cowan than perhaps we’ve seen until now. The affection he feels for the lead characters in this work, as well as the locations and the people who inhabit the novel, is palpable and utterly endearing throughout.
Robert has written in third-person, past-tense throughout, a choice which feels right for a story that basks in the glow of old friendships and memories of times past.
Our main characters are likable, funny, and far from saints, but utterly believable and rather charming. What made this book for me, was Cowan’s skilful use of dialogue through the novel. Where many writers choose clumsy exposition, Cowan, quite literally in print, allows his characters to speak for themselves, stripping away their outside appearance to expose the very real versions of themselves in their deeds and words. Most notably, the boys’ friendship is demonstrated most ably by Cowan’s spot-on dialogue which is at times warm, very funny, scathing and cutting, as reflects the relationship between best friends.
Another step forward and a very, very good work from an ever developing writer who has grown comfortable in his skill and knows how to craft an appealing story.
Available now at Amazon