The Wrong Story

“Don’t you ever wonder what happens in between the frames? What happens in that dark line that separates one frozen moment from the next?”

the wrong story 3dThe Wrong Story by James Ellis is about a cartoonist who falls from a roof and is left with partial amnesia and a growing inability to distinguish between real and imaginary events. His characters assume a grimy reality while the lives of his family and friends appear ever more unreal. Screenshot 2020-07-14 at 08.50.53It is a story about the borderlands between imagination and the real world, the desire for self-determination and the obligations on a responsible creator. But mostly it’s about a man who falls off a roof and wants to know why – was it an accident, did he jump, or was he pushed?

The Wrong Story is published by Unbound Books and is available in both paperback and eBook format in high street bookshops and online.

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound Digital (17 Mar. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911586114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911586111

Here are links to some of the more popular sites from where it can be bought – and please, when you’ve read it, do post a review comment. It really does help.

And here is a link to the May 2018 Blog Book Tour.

Reviews for The Wrong Story

“Told vividly, with humour, strangeness, and moments of sadness, The Wrong Story bounds along, as we follow the internal narrative of cartoonist Tom, a Humpty Dumpty kind of figure, who has had a great fall and is now using all the creatures of his imagination – his cartoon foxes, cats and pelicans – to put his mind back together again. There are echoes of Denis Potter’s The Singing Detective in the flux of real and fictional worlds. Pacy from the start, it hits its full stride in the third section, The Punch, where the writing is at its freest and the story rises to a fizzing crescendo.”

“The Wrong Story is a book I can’t, and don’t want to shake off – I’ve never read anything so original. It’s a case of life imitating art when such appealing, vivid, thought provoking characters and plot twists hang around in your consciousness in between reads…please, please give Pelican his own gig! I will re-read this insightful book again and recommend it to everyone I know…such a literary shot in the arm. Did I mention it’s also incredibly funny?”

“Books like The Wrong Story are rare in the current market. High literary fiction demands commitment, genre fiction is often exhaustingly tropey, and so the bestseller lists are wearyingly full of grip-lit, series crime, misery memoir or diet books. Going online to look for an original read can feel like trying to clean-eat in a provincial branch of Aldi. Ready-books, tinned fiction, the blurbs of which promise stunning writing but the deliver adverbs like E numbers on page 2.

The Wrong Story is not just lean prose the like of which Joe Wicks would envy, it’s controlled prose, prose which knows about syntax and pauses and timing. It’s choreographed without feeling artificial, and indeed its lightness and pace is what enables us to trust our narrator from page one. Everything about the foreground is crisp and fresh and modern – a multi media world in which Tweets and click bait news create an instant sense of mystery about the circumstances of Tash’s fall from the car park roof.

But what could just have been a comic novel soon becomes by turns surreal, philosophical and very, very funny. Not since Kate Atkinson have I howled out loud with laughter in the way I did as Tash finds himself trapped in his own cartoon world, exchanging barbs with Plenty the cat, a comic creation who might be the love child of Phoebe from Friends and the scary child that crawls out of the well in The Ring – complete with claws and a tail,of course. But soon the humour is tempered by Pelican who labours to express an existential angst worthy of Waiting for Godot as he murmurs that what he sees from the sky is ‘…what is not this.’ Later, Tash himself reveals his artistic fascination with ‘the black lines which separate one frame from the next,’ a luminal territory where ‘anything can happen.’

And it does.

The Wrong Story is the novel Beckett might have written had he watched Seinfeld, South Park and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Indeed, Ellis’ ruminations on time and being reminded me often of the opening scenes of McEwan’s Atonement.

The Wrong Story felt to me like a heady mix of Robert Pulcini’s American Splendor, and Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. You could see Paul Giamatti playing Tash – with a lugubrious English accent, of course.”

There are more reviews on The Wrong Story‘s Goodreads page.

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