famished

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Read 16/12/2020-23/12/2020

Rating 4 stars

famished is a collection of ultra short stories by Anna Vaught. The minimalist, modernist cover contains 17 baroque horror stories, all centred on food or eating, and influenced by writers from Angela Carter, Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe to F Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Carson McCullers.

These tales are strongly feminist, peopled by women who are taking control. The subtext is often ‘eat, or be eaten’. Continue reading

Boy Parts

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Read 11/07/2020-12/07/2020

Rating 5 stars

Book 5 in my 10 Books of Summer reading challenge, a substitution in the original list.

I find it hard to believe that Boy Parts is Eliza Clark’s debut novel. It’s confident, fiercely funny and its chattiness belies the darkness at its heart.

Not since Chuck Pahlaniuk have I felt so delighted to be entertained by the vagaries of human nature. Not since James Kelman has a writer captured so well for me the hard edge of working class play and working class survival. Not since the translation of Virginie Despante’s Vernon Subutex trilogy into English have I been so pleased to meet a character that is so grotesquely charming. Continue reading

Exercises in Control

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Read 22/01/2020-26/01/2020

Rating 3 stars

This slim volume of short stories by poet and fiction writer Annabel Banks is one of my chosen books from my Influx Press subscription. It’s a challenging and entertaining read. There are moments of real discomfort mixed up with the laughs provoked by Banks’s ability to skewer human nature. Continue reading

The Bloody Chamber

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Read 04/04/2019-11/04/2019

Rating 4 stars

Angela Carter’s collection of re-imagined folk tales and fables presents tales originally told to the detriment of women as bold stories of female resilience and triumph. Inspired by, among others, Bluebeard, Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, Carter has her heroines rise up against their male oppressors and find freedom. Continue reading

Fever Dream

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Read 04/04/2019

Rating 5 stars

Fever Dream is a short, brilliant book. It’s hard to review without giving things away, but suffice to say that Samanta Schweblin has delivered a masterpiece in suspense writing and translator Megan McDowell has done a cracking job of putting the Spanish into English.
Continue reading

Omens

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Read 19/02/2019-27/02/2019

Rating 3 stars

I like to read widely, and Omens was a definite change in pace and style from what I’ve been reading recently. It’s a book that found me through LibraryThing’s take on Secret Santa. The first year I did SantaThing, my Santa bought me two books by Kelley Armstrong. I read one of them, City of the Lost, quite promptly and enjoyed it. For some reason, I left the other waiting. I think I knew what it would be like, just from the cover.

HER PARENTS ARE KILLERS NOW SHE’S THE TARGET Continue reading

The House of the Seven Gables

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Read 07/03/2018-14/03/2018

Rating: 3 stars

I bought The House of the Seven Gables for £1 from the book shop in the café at Mrs Gaskell’s House. Once upon a time, it had cost five shillings, and its purchaser had given it to a friend. There’s an inscription inside the front cover. The recipient is nameless, the donor signs themself M.L. and it’s clear that the book meant a lot to them. Continue reading