Notable American Women

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Read 24/01/2017-27/01/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Winter Challenge

Recently I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth for the first time. It’s a strange film, I didn’t understand all of it, I found some scenes confusing and uncomfortable, but I enjoyed the shape and colour of it. That’s how I feel about Ben Marcus’s books. They unsettle me in an enjoyable way, and quite often I have no idea what’s going on.

This is the third Ben Marcus book I’ve read. There are definite themes across each work. Dysfunctional relationships, sexual inadequacy, father-son issues, not feeling manly enough, possible misogyny. There are distortions of language, oblique references to the human condition that only dawn on you when you’ve peeled your way through the clingfilm of condensation that Marcus stretches over the narrative.

With Notable American Women, in a Paul Auster kind of way, Ben Marcus presents a book written by Ben Marcus, but it’s a different Ben Marcus. One from a different reality. On the face of it, the book tells the story of a dystopian society. It’s set in America but not the America we know. As I read the book, I came to realise that it was about a dysfunctional family as seen through the filter that Ben uses to process the world. Continue reading

Titus Awakes

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Read 13/12/2016-17/12/2016

Rating: 2.5 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Winter Challenge

This is the fourth Gormenghast book. Peake died after completing only three of his series, which has for a long time been thought of as a trilogy. It turns out his intention was to write more, to follow Titus further into his life. A fragment of the fourth book exists, a fragment which Peake’s widow Maeve Gilmore took and expanded into a novel. Continue reading

Leaving the Sea: Stories

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Read 07/11/2016-13/11/2016

Rating: 4 stars

So many books these days have endless quotes from reviews that prepare you for what you’re about to read. Especially books that are classed as different, difficult, uncomfortable, and extraordinary. Such is the case with Ben Marcus’s collection of stories, Leaving the Sea.

I own this book because Jen at The Reader’s Room reviewed it earlier in the year. She disliked it so passionately that I was intrigued. I’d read The Age of Wire and String, which is a very odd book but one that I loved wholeheartedly. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about. I can only tell you that it made me feel light headed, light hearted, confused and delighted.

Jen very generously sent me the book. I’ve been waiting for a moment when it felt right to read it. Continue reading

Who Fears Death

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Read 19/08/2016-21/08/2016

Rating: 4 stars

I read about this book on The Reader’s Room and instantly wanted to read it. I had to reserve it through the union catalogue for libraries in the Greater Manchester area. I learned from this experience that Trafford Libraries are better at managing their stock than Manchester City Libraries when I had an email to say the book was ready for me to pick up only for the library to have lost it. (This has happened a second time, so not an isolated incident. Get your act together Manchester.)

After a second attempt to reserve it, the book eventually came in a few weeks ago. I devoured it over a couple of days. It was every bit as good as I was expecting it to be. Continue reading

The Sixth Gun Volume 5

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Read 13/07/2016 to 14/07/2016

Rating: 5 stars

Volume 5, Winter Wolves, is my favourite in the Sixth Gun series so far. The pursuit of Becky Montcrief and Drake Sinclair by various groups of people, all bent (some of them hell bent) on claiming the guns from them, continues. In this trade, they become trapped in a parallel dimension, captured by the spirit creature the Wendigo.

Elsewhere, Gord Cantrell has teamed up with Asher Cobb, the undead mummified man who is beautifully and mesmerisingly drawn throughout the book, and the mercenary Kirby Hale to try to track Becky and Drake down. Gord is determined to destroy the guns and will go to any length required to stop anyone else getting their hands on them. It’s touch and go at times, but having a mummified man with pyromancy skills on his team pays off.

Becky is revealed to be developing supernatural powers, perhaps through prolonged exposure to her gun. I’ve got a feeling things might not go as well for her as they could in future volumes, in relation to her being able to maintain her integrity.

I can’t wait to get volume 6 now!