Billy's desperate to escape middle England. He's working the ultimate dead-end job as a grave-digger, his grandad's engaged to a West Indian woman half his age, his xenophobic dad's obsessed with boxing; and his mum's certainly having an affair. Meeting Eva, though, changes everything. From debut novelist Philip Bowne, winner of the Spotlight First Novel prize, comes this explosive coming-of-age odyssey that catapults 18-year-old Billy Reed across Europe. Billy has just left school and is desperate to escape middle England. It's 2016, and as a grave-digger, he's working the ultimate dead-end job. To make matters worse, he's a virgin, and there's no hope of him meeting a girl any time soon. The only women at work are in coffins. Billy's home life isn't any better. In the evenings, he observes his dysfunctional family: his grandad's engaged to a woman half his age, his dad's become obsessed with boxing, and he suspects his mum is having an affair. All the while, celebrities are dropping like flies and Britain is waiting for the EU referendum. Everything is changing, and Billy hates it. Billy's life gets a jump start when he falls in love with Eva, an older girl from Switzerland, that's passionate about Russian literature, Gary Numan, windfarms and chai tea. To Billy's despair, Eva travels back to her home in Switzerland at the end of summer. But he won't give up on her that easily. He gambles everything for a chance to be with Eva again. When things start to go wrong, Billy's journey across Europe involves hitch-hiking with truckers, walking with refugees, and an encounter with suicidal cows. But the further he goes, the harder it is to be sure what he's chasing - and what he's running from.
Publisher: Neem Tree Press Limited
Number of pages: 276
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
"Fans of Kerouac's On the Road will find that Cows Can't Jump adopts a similar blend of angst, growth, and social observation -- but in a European setting. This lively story that will appeal to fans of travelogues and adventure as well as personal growth fiction, bringing the world and its meaning to life through Billy's astute observations. Cows Can't Jump combines a coming-of-age story with a road trip adventure."
--Midwest Book Review "Cows Can't Jump announces a major talent. Bowne's touch is light, but his themes resonate: faith, family, race, and (whisper it) Brexit. The prose sparkles like sunshine hitting the English Channel. Philip Bowne is going to be a superstar."
--D.D. Johnston, author of Peace, Love & Petrol Bombs "Cows Can't Jump leapt out for its boldness, confidence and humour. Philip is a gifted and perceptive writer with a fine eye for detail, dialogue and characterisation...a fresh take on the classic rite-of-passage."
--Marion Urch, Spotlight First Novel Prize "A fabulous debut steeped in the wit and prose of a bullish veteran...impossible to put down..."
--The Express UK "Innovative, punchy and tender... maintains a balance of tone, a trueness of voice, laugh-out-loud humour and stiletto-sharp wit. Bowne's debut is a performance of real originality and extraordinary promise. I can't wait to see what he does next."
--Ray Robinson, author of Electricity "Part coming-of-age story, part European travel adventure, Phil Bowne's debut novel deftly mixes laugh-out-loud hijinx with moments of true poignancy, and is filled with memorable scenes and a caste of eclectic, authentic characters. Billy is a brilliant narrator-pilgrim for the next generation."
--Tyler Keevil, author of No Good Brother