I read most of Sam Savage's debut novel Firmin in one go on Sunday, sitting in the park. Actually it turned out to be less appropriate as sunny-afternoon reading than I'd expected. The story of a rat who's born in a bookshop basement, and as the runt of the litter has to nibble on books to survive, Firmin ends up with the ability to read. Although it's got its lighter moments, Firmin is mostly a desperately sad story, with the overwhelming theme being one of crushing loneliness. It's definitely an interesting idea and well-written, but not as much light relief as the subject-matter might suggest.