From the author of Mr Chen's Emporium comes a quirky and heartwarming tale about finding your true place in the world, set against the backdrop of a weekly trivia competition. 'Trivia is a serious business, not a social occasion' Kevin Dwyer, the 'trivia man' Dubbed 'brainbox' by his peers and 'weirdo' by his sister, Kevin Dwyer is a middle-aged forensic accountant who has never had a real friend, other than his eight-year-old nephew Patrick. When Kevin joins the Clifton Heights Sports Club trivia competition as a one-man team, and convincingly wins the first round, he is headhunted by the other contestants. But Kevin would prefer to be on his own. That is, until he meets Maggie Taylor . . . Maggie is a Latin teacher and movie buff, who's good at her job but unlucky in love. In fact, she's still besotted with the man who dumped her years ago. Nagged by her friend Carole about getting out and meeting people, Maggie reluctantly joins the trivia team founded by Carole's husband, Edward. Over a season of trivia nights, Kevin, Maggie and her team will experience arguments and crises, friendships and romances, heartbreaks and new beginnings. And maybe, just maybe, Kevin will find his happy ever after . . .
The Trivia Man
Random House Australia
1 Reader Reviews
Funny, sweet and moving,
The Trivia Man is the fourth novel by Australian visual artist, teacher and author, Deborah O’Brien. Ever since he can remember, Kevin Dwyer has liked facts and figures more than people: facts and figures he can master, put into order, record in his notebooks; with people, he always feels like an alien, unable to decipher the nuances of language, gesture, or intonation. He’s perfectly suited to his job as a forensic accountant, and trivia quizzes are his favourite (make that “only”) leisure activity.
It’s no surprise that Kevin buys a weather station and a log book for his nephew, Patrick’s eighth birthday. After all, this is what brought him hours of enjoyment at that age. Kevin and Patrick share the same love of learning and recording what happens in the world around them. Patrick’s mother, Beth (everyone calls her Elizabeth or Lizzie, but Kevin doesn’t notice that) just thinks her brother’s peculiar.
Elizabeth is worried that Kevin has an addiction to trivia competitions: three a week is surely not normal, especially as he competes alone. She advises him to join a team, hoping it will force him to interact more with other people. After his One-Man Band team wins Week One of the Clifton Heights Sports Club Autumn/Winter Trivia Competition, several of the other teams try to entice him to join with them, but Kevin is not tempted.
High school language teacher, Maggie Taylor has only agreed to join Teddy and the Dreamers for Week Two of the competition as a favour to her friend Carole: she can’t imagine she’ll enjoy it, with Carole’s insufferably arrogant husband, Edward as team leader, and intends to bow out at the first opportunity. But it’s not as bad as she’d expected, and chatting with Kevin during the break, she’s fascinated by his job, and manages to recruit him onto the Dreamers team.
What a wonderful tale O’Brien gives the reader: the plot is entirely believable; the characters feel like those you know from work or school or the pub; their hopes, fears and failures are what concern us all. Readers will be pleased that Maggie finally sees sense, that Patrick finds a friend, that Kevin doesn’t end up throwing something very important away.
O’Brien explores what it means to be different in a world that doesn’t tolerate non-conformity well. The story is told from four different perspectives, and the “misfits” experience is well portrayed. And the generous dose of trivia included in each chapter is great fun. Funny, sweet and moving, this is a delightful read.