The Amateurs: A Novel
The Amateurs: A Novel
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— The Times (London)
“A novel about golf that is not only hilarious, but gripping, sexy, violent, and outrageous. . . . Niven combines his increasingly bizarre plots, and some shocking behavior, with considerable skill and, of course, large helpings of humor.”
— The Mirror
From Kill Your Friends author John Niven, The Amateurs is a side-splitting and whip-smart examination of golf, infidelity, and how little white balls make some men insane.
saying ‘250 YARDS’. There were more distance signs at 200, 150 and 100 yards, then, about fifty yards out, the little nets, about the size of a car bonnet, for hitting practice chips into. The rusting hulk of an old Land Rover sat smack in the middle of the field: a comedy target that would occasionally reverberate as a ball clattered off its roof or doors. Thousands of golf balls lay dotted all across the range, almost every one representing the fallen hopes of a madman. Gary wanted to work on
backwards two, three, four yards towards the hole. Around nine o’clock other golfers would start to appear – some of them gathering to watch in awe as Gary drilled three-irons all the way to the end of the range – and it would be time to head up to the golf course. On weekdays the course was quiet in the mornings and he would usually play the first round by himself – hitting extra shots, experimenting, trying out different ways of coming at the greens – before having lunch in the clubhouse and
edge of the bed, and sat down beside her. He began very gently. ‘Pauline, listen. Shite, fud, cunt. You don’t understand. Whatever’s happened in here –’ he tapped his temple, the indented bruise still visible – ‘I can do something I’ve always wanted to do. I can imagine a shot, I can see it in my head, and then I can do it. I can make it happen almost exactly like I see it. Not now and again, or once in a blue moon – paps – But nearly every single time.’ ‘So what are you saying? You’ve had a
to sort this out. So, why don’t ye just tell us where he is, eh? And then we can all get on with our day and Frank here’ll no have to carve a pair o’ smiley faces into your wee lassie’s fucking cheeks.’ Lisa started to cry, her head bowed down, hair covering her face. Over her shoulder Alec saw her mobile phone sitting on the counter next to the sink. He reached out and picked it up. Into ‘Received calls’ and there was a Glasgow number. Alec had dialled it before Lisa realised what he was doing.
out-of-bounds all over the place. No, don’t think about that. Plenty of room. In the crowd Cathy turned to Bert. ‘Whit were they arguing about, Bert?’ ‘It looks like he’s going for the green. Ah think young Stevie wanted him tae lay up. Difficult shot. Tricky hole.’ ‘Yeah,’ April said. ‘Didn’t Nicklaus make something like a 12 here back in ’62?’ Bert looked at the lassie, impressed. ‘Thirteen, hen. Thirteen.’ ‘Aww my God!’ Cathy cried as thousands of necks suddenly snapped to the left. Gary