Thursday 29 January 2015

The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer

Title: The Restoration of Otto Laird
Author: Nigel Packer
Published: 6th January 2015
Publisher: Sphere


Initially I found The Restoration of Otto Laird hard to get into. I would be reading the words on the page and my mind would wonder off onto other things. I must admit, I very nearly gave up, but I persevered and I'm glad I did.

Otto is an interesting character. He is a retired visionary architect currently living in Switzerland. When he hears that his most significant building he built in the 1960's- Marlowe House, is to be knocked down, he returns to London to try and save it from this cruel fate. Returning to London for the first time in 25 years, Otto not only visits Marlowe House, he also goes back the places where key events in his past happened. As he looks back he embarks on a journey that will change his future for the better.

I think the second half of this book was much better than the first. We really get to know Otto as the book progresses as we get little snippets into his life and where he started. These were the parts of the story that I liked the best and were what kept my interest. It was a perfect metaphor for how the decline of Marlowe House reflects Otto's life. The more I learnt about Otto, the more I felt endeared to him and actually greatly sympathised with him. Despite his flaws, he is a very likeable character and I could see some of my own Grandad in him.

The descrption for this is slightly misleading as I was expecting quite a funny tale along the lies of #FrankDerrick or The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules. But what we get is actually a melancholy tale of Otto and his demise along with Marlowe House. Perhaps if the synopsis had been worded a little differently, I would have had the right expectations and it would have kept my interest a bit better.

Overall though, once I had got into the story, I found it endearing and thought-provoking. Will definitely appeal to fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.



  1. I completely agree with you when you say the description of this was a little misleading - the actual book was something quite different from what I was expecting. I did enjoy Harold Fry, but I don't think I had quite the same connection with Otto Laird and probably ended enjoying the book a little bit less than you. Great review though, clear and to the point :)

    My review: The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer

    1. Thank you so much :) and thank you for stopping by :)