I’ve no idea what this is…

Nearly two months ago I wrote these three lines, straight into a draft post, certain that something would come of them. I've revisited them several times since, always with the expectation that somehow they would 'take off' and lead me to a different outcome, a more comprehensive 'thing'. But nothing ever happens. Maybe they're meant … Continue reading I’ve no idea what this is…

“Homesick for Another World”

There is a particular kind of satisfaction you get from reading something that is really, really well written - and "Homesick for Another World" gives me that in spades. It's a superbly crafted collection of short stories in which Ottessa Moshfegh delivers a whole carnival of characters from the dark under-belly of modern society (mainly … Continue reading “Homesick for Another World”

Congregation at a Twitcher’s Sunset

Congregation at a Twitcher’s Sunset   “They beat out rhythmic drum solos on hollow trees. They watch me, watching them. They watch me as spies would, always out of reach.   “Some bring gifts. Gift-giving is their natural repertoire placing them where they can’t be missed. By my bed, a small wooden box, each compartment … Continue reading Congregation at a Twitcher’s Sunset

“Shrines of Upper Austria”

The back cover of Phoebe Power's "Shrines of Upper Austria" promotes a 'formally restless collection' - and that's exactly right; the book employs multiple technical forms from the more traditionally poetic through to plain, undifferentiated prose. And because the sources are also eclectic - for example some reported speech, some German - what we end … Continue reading “Shrines of Upper Austria”

“The Many”

"The Many" is a wonderful little book. It's easy to see why it was long-listed for the Booker; Wyl Menmuir has done a great job here! It's difficult to talk about the book without giving anything away - so I've have to restrict myself to bland comments in terms of how well the sense of … Continue reading “The Many”

“Who Is Mary Sue?”

Sophie Collins' book "Who Is Mary Sue?" is another of those eclectic collections of words masquerading under the title of 'poetry'. There are a few poems in the book, but also snippets of prose, chunks of quotation, various flavours of narrative... At one point I was reminded - somewhat obscurely! - of Ezra Pound and … Continue reading “Who Is Mary Sue?”

Giveaway closed – Thank you!

The Goodreads.com Giveaway for my novella "Losing Moby Dick" is now closed. I just wanted to thank all the 236 people who have registered for the giveaway. With 100 Kindle books available, obviously not everyone will get one. Goodreads will be selecting the lucky winners at random over the next 24 hours.

“Heart of Darkness”

Of course Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is simply astounding. The kind of book that you can read and re-read through a lifetime and never reach the 'heart' of it - that's if it has a heart that's reachable, of course... What was most interesting was re-reading it using my old, 70p new, Penguin Modern Classics … Continue reading “Heart of Darkness”

“The Refugees”

There is a certain melancholy in Viet Thanh Nguyen's "The Refugees" - which probably isn't that surprising, given its subject matter. More than that, a blend of melancholy and nostalgia. The lead characters in this collection of short stories all face into the dilemma that comes from the juxtaposition of the American and the Vietnamese, … Continue reading “The Refugees”

“Staying Alive”

I don't usually read poetry anthologies, however "Staying Alive - real poems for unreal times" had such great comments - and was so big! - that I thought I'd give it a go. (Though on reflection, how well known are Mia Farrow and Meryl Streep for their poetry criticism..?) It remains unfinished. I've struggled through … Continue reading “Staying Alive”