Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Get in Touch with Your Inner Bon Vivant: Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer



My Inner Bon Vivant often has to play second fiddle to those divas Responsibility and Anxiety… but not always.  (Oh dear – am I sounding like E.L. James?)  I’m dropping everything this Wednesday, August 12th at 6:30 to go to a party and reading at Parnassus and so hope you’ll join me!  Bradley Somer will be reading from his new comic novel, Fishbowl, starring a goldfish bon vivant you can’t help but love.

Ian is a fish blessed and cursed with that desire of all fish – to explore, to be free:

Let it be said that a fish will strive to find the highest point available in order to fall from it in an attempt to land somewhere else.  They’re noble explorers limited only by water… and though their souls strain toward the heights, it’s for those low elevations that their bodies yearn.  They are fearless adventurers caged by aquariums or restrained in bowls.  They are repressed free spirits in search of the edge of the world, in pursuit of the unknown, and are predisposed to falling from great heights at much personal peril in order to find new territories.

Ian takes his chance the moment he has it and leaps to freedom from the balcony of the 27th floor of the Seville on Roxy.  As he plummets, you and he witness dramatic incidents large and small taking place in the apartment building, meeting Home-Schooled Herman, Our Heroine Katie, the Evil Seductress Faye, the Villain Connor Radley, and Claire the Shut-in (among others).  Ian and the inhabitants of the Seville on Roxy will capture your imagination – and your heart.

Ian is a simple sort:

Ian has never been particularly introspective or melancholic.  It’s not in his nature to contemplate or to lament.  The core of Ian’s character is a simple amalgam of carpe diem, laissez-faire, and Namaste.

“Less thinking, more doing,” is the goldfish’s philosophy.

“Having a plan is the first step toward failure,” he would say if he could speak.

Ian was a gift from Our Heroine Katie to the Villain Connor Radley.  They’ve been dating for 3 months, less a day, and she has fallen deeply in love with his gorgeous self.  He certainly enjoys her company but hasn’t been able to give up his – shall we say – extracurricular activities.  Chapters about Katie and Connor have titles like “In Which Our Heroine Katie Finds the Magic of Love in the Cleaning Supply Room Under the Stairs” and “In Which the Villain Connor Radley Judges His Heart and Finds It Wanting.”

Home-Schooled Herman is one of the few residents to catch a glimpse of Ian on his “plummetous descent.”  A precocious 11-year-old who was bullied at school, he lives with his grandfather for reasons which only later become clear (and explain a great deal about Herman).  On the day of Ian’s extraordinary journey, Herman is drawn into the lives of Claire the Shut-in and Petunia Delilah when Petunia goes into labor.  It’s a breech birth, and it’s happening fast, and Herman and Claire will either figure it out in time – or they won’t.

bradley-somer_credit-nenad-maksimovic-1Fishbowl cleverly illustrates a great truth:  like it or not, we’re all in this together.  The Roxy on Seville is a stand-in for Planet Earth, but it’s also a stand in for Nashville or your neighborhood.  Fishbowl does not shy away from the messiness of life, love and death.  It’s all happening at the Seville on Roxy.  What can a person do?  Laugh.  Cry.  Hold your neighbor’s hand.  We’re all sharing Ian’s journey.


  1. I absolutely loved Fishbowl and can’t wait to hear Bradley Somer read at Parnassus!

    • EL James? Why, goodness, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of her…:)
      I must read the novel! Not merely for the wonderful secondary characters but you’ve now made me care very much for the Hero of Our Story. I fear it may not end well for him.
      Oh, to be in Nashville! We’ll be at Parnassus in spirit Wednesday night.

    • I’m so glad you’ll be there, Carolyn! I look forward to seeing you! xo

  2. I have experienced grief and a most unpleasant, gnawing guilt for the many goldfish (and Bettas) we have held captive in our kitchen’s fishbowl over the years. I am thrilled to see a talented and hilarious writer give these creatures their well deserved voice. I look forward to reading Fishbowl and acquiring the wisdom that Ian brings to light! Thank you Jennifer! ❤️

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