The Universe Versus Alex Woods

Gavin Extence

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read. Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life. He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies. He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it. What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ... 3.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The Universe Versus Alex Woods

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 416
RRP
Date of Publication January 2013
ISBN 978-1444765885
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
 

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read. Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life. He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies. He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it. What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...

Reviews

The Daily Express

Charlotte Heathcote

Where this novel shines is in its characterisation: the brittle outer layers of socially awkward people are unpeeled to reveal big hearts and raw emotions. The sparring between Alex and Mr Peterson is a joy to read.

27/01/2013

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The Guardian

Susanna Rustin

There are moments when you wonder if the novel is too winsome for its own good … But the novel won me over. Extence tells a great story that owes much to Vonnegut, but also something to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. It's hard not to see an echo of Harry Potter, too, in the boy-hero with a scar on his head. The final section is humane and touching, and Extence deserves credit for the clever and timely idea of fictionalising a trip to the Swiss death clinic.

15/03/2013

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The Observer

Alexander Larman

The first third or so ladles on the quirk in a way that verges on cliche; for instance, wouldn't it be nice to have an oddball boy in one of these stories who isn't bullied at school? … After it finds its voice, this is a hugely enjoyable and even wise book, with plenty to say about life and death, and Vonnegut fans, in particular, will absolutely love it.

17/02/2013

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The Financial Times

David Evans

Alex describes the various difficulties he encounters with a strange equanimity, and compared with other literary misfits (Christopher Boone, hero of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, comes to mind) his narration can seem curiously inert. Nevertheless, Extence’s plotting is astute, and he handles the theme of euthanasia with an affecting delicacy.

01/02/2013

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