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Common Ground Reviews

Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro

Common Ground: Did you ever have a friend who made you see the world differently?

Naomi Ishiguro

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Tinder Press
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Publication date: 25 Mar 2021
ISBN: 9781472273291

A classic coming of age story in the tradition of TIN MAN or BLACK SWAN GREEN, from the acclaimed author of ESCAPE ROUTES

4 stars out of 5
11 Apr 2021

"a celebration of multiculturalism and friendship, and a rallying cry to make the world a better, kinder place"

Ishiguro has a knack for observing adolescence that brings to mind the fiction of Ali Smith. Her novel captures both the innocence of childhood and the way social pressures and prejudices chip away at a person: twentysomething Charlie no longer sees ‘so many avenues of possibility stretching ahead, wide open’. Common Ground could be described as a coming-of-age story, but it’s more than that: it’s a celebration of multiculturalism and friendship, and a rallying cry to make the world a better, kinder place.


4 stars out of 5
21 Mar 2021

"a work of engrossingly old-school storytelling"

Contrary to the trend for (say) autofiction about social media, this is a work of engrossingly old-school storytelling that, in the week MPs have voted for new laws criminalising travellers, seeks to nudge the reader into empathy and solidarity while staying sensitive to their limits.

4 stars out of 5
10 Mar 2021

"a generous and disarming tale of loyalty, injustice and hope that is just the right side of sentimental"

The friendship that grows between the younger, awkward, bullied Stan and the older, confident, curious Charlie is an unexpected one, but in a small town both are outsiders in their own ways. Common Ground, the debut novel by Naomi Ishiguro, daughter of Kazuo, follows the mismatched teenage duo as they bond over bikes and newspaper-wrapped chips on the common, and later rejoins them when their paths cross as adults in London.