The Lunch Hour – Book Review

This is a book that came to my attention by way of personal recommendation from fellow bloggers and members of the Indie Author Review Exchange Group. Carl Jones is also the author of a non-fiction book, Essays on Popular History, a link to which follows at the end…


Further links to Carl Jones and his writing can be found via:



The Lunch Hour

By Carl Jones

(Available from Amazon Kindle)


carljones1The reader will find here a setting and host of characters that the vast majority of anyone who has ever experienced the conversation and banter of a workplace canteen or staff room will immediately recognise. Amid the bleak and often depressing perception of an unfulfilling job and workplace, we get a glimpse of how the different characters deal with the day to day drudgery, and with one another; the ensemble of characters practically guarantees a constant succession of minor conflicts and disagreement, all providing ample opportunity for comic exploitation. Divided into eleven chapters, each chapter is referred to as a ‘break’ for a particular day. Over the course of a week the reader becomes a party to the inane chatter, conversation, and banter of the co-workers during their twice daily breaks in the staff room, largely told from the perspective of Christian, a staff supervisor who, with his degree is vastly (or so he probably believes?) overqualified for his job; to his colleagues and the reader he comes across more as a weak willed pseudo-intellectual. The humour and dialogue is very topical, covering topics such as popular culture, politics, and sport to name but a few – Jeremy Kyle and the X-factor, along with heated discussions about the merits of Ukip are all explored amid the staff room ‘discussions.’ The only drawback with such topicality is that it might confuse some non British readers who may not be familiar with many of the references or uniquely British humour and dialogue, though for the most part, I think it provides such readers with a unique insight into British culture, despite all the generalisations and stereotyping that inevitably occurs during discussion among a cast of such vastly varying characters, and in this book in particular, to extremely vivid comic effect.

Much of the dialogue reads like unrelated snippets of a stream of consciousness in the way the conversation or topic of discussion at the time often switches between superficially academic point-scoring between Christian and one of his co-workers on some controversial aspect of history to, say, which football team is likely to finish top of the league, only to be then interrupted by one of the female staff suggesting everyone name their favourite film or song. The humour is very clever and witty, with some of the sharpest and funniest imagery and dialogue you can imagine. Amid the staff room gossip the reader also gets an insight into Christian’s hilarious private though often caustic speculations about workplace sexual encounters, character assessments (not to mention a touch of character assassination), and his self-deprecating self-analysis, all whilst he interrupts his staff room chatter to check and update his Facebook and twitter activity.

I did feel at times that some of the staff room interaction between Christian and his pseudo-intellectual rival, Barry, was overdone in its detail. I would also say the presentation and layout of some of the dialogue could have been clearer but all in all ‘The Lunch Hour’ by Carl Jones is without doubt one of the funniest books I’ve read this year; with its sharp and witty yet depressingly accurate take on the British public’s perception of modern day Britain, cleverly expressed within the setting of a typical workplace staff room, this is a book that would definitely transfer well to the theatre or small screen, ideally one of those clever in-house productions the BBC do so well – Think Ricky Gervais’s ‘The Office’ or the lesser known Brain Dooley’s ‘The Smoking Room.’ Despite a few reservations as mentioned, the sheer entertainment value and exceptional quality of the humour makes this an easy five star rating for me.


Also by Carl Jones: Essays on Popular History


About RuddersWriting

Middle-aged man, aspiring writer, book blogger/reviewer, and author, one grown-up son and young grandson, now retired, actively working to develop a writing career.

Posted on May 19, 2015, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. A great review Paul, and I totally agree with your comments. I read this story shortly after Carl aired it for us, and I was immediately impressed by the humour, which is difficult to write.
    I have a feeling that like the rest of us, Carl will use the experience of this book as a stepping stone to go on and produce another, better story if that’s possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Indie Author Review Exchange and commented:

    One of the funniest books I’ve read this year… perfect for a BBC comic drama… Reblogged from my personal website.


  3. Reblogged this on carlcymru and commented:
    A very kind review of The Lunch Hour

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Lunch For Free | carlcymru

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