Title: The Restoration of Otto Laird
Author: Nigel Packer
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Sphere (6 Jan. 2015)
Buy Link: Waterstones
Otto Laird is outraged.
The peaceful, if slightly bemused, existence of this elderly retired architect is rudely interrupted when he learns that his most revolutionary and controversial building, Marlowe House, a 1960’s local authority tower block in South London, is to be demolished. Determined to do everything in his power to save the building, Otto returns to London for the first time in twenty-five years.
As he explores his past, ponders his present and considers the future – for himself and his building -he embarks on a most remarkable journey, one that will change everything Otto ever thought he knew about himself and those closest to him.
Funny, moving and heartwarming, this is a novel featuring one of the most endearing protagonists you will ever meet, whose story will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
Now I must admit when I first started this book I didn’t think I would manage to finish it, in fact I almost gave up until I read a few reviews saying that it does get better as the story goes on, and I am so glad that I continued with it.
In the book description it does state that this is funny, I did not particularly find anything funny about it really. Otto had just had another bout of surgery and needed to go back to London to save Marlowe House, and a documentary may do the trick, therefore he is interviewed for this documentary and meets residents of Marlowe House and ask their thoughts too. Now Otto left London and hadn’t been back for twenty-five years so that in itself must have been quite daunting for him. When he lays eyes on Marlowe House and how different it was now from when it was first built his heart sank. It was ruined, almost beyond repair, it didn’t look the same.
While filming the documentary and spending time in London he has a lot of reveries about time gone by, his childhood, how he met his first wife, where they lives, his son, things that went wrong and how he sadly lost his wife. But does he manage to save Marlowe House? You will have to read to find out.
I actually liked Otto, his flash backs to the past were quite emotional in places.
I would recommend this book and don’t be put off like I almost was, it is a remarkable novel.