August 21, 2005
Where The Museum of Doubt was sharp and funny, this is a more serious, more cinematic, and much more twisted novel, with readers having to piece together a narrative thread using the connections between the characters. Samarin, the man on the run, is not all he appears to be. Meek relies on a few literary devices – third-person flashback, a retrospective letter, an elaborate prison camp narrative – to distill the lies, leaving the reader with a heady brew to swallow. Susan Tomaselli reviews James Meek's The People's Act of Love.
August 8, 2005
Criss-crossing plots analyse alienation and angst, but also the themes of failed artistry, attempted suicide, floundering marriages and the darker side of human nature, our obsession with child murder and kidnapping cases. Much like Luke Haines of The Auteurs who sang jaunty ditties about child murder, Clowes writes smartly, uniting each story by its geographical setting. Susan Tomaselli reviews Daniel Clowes' Ice Haven.
August 8, 2005
Both novellas are set in autumn and both are told in typical Yoshimoto fashion, that is, a spare, subtle, detached, measured and sometimes oblique prose, a mixture of the mundane and supernatural, that tips a nod to Haruki Murakami. Unlike Murakami, the portentious events in Yoshimoto are less significant, a brooding menace never quite coming to fruition, the unsaid, or unwritten which makes the tales all the more melancholic. Susan Tomaselli reviews Banana Yoshimoto's Hardboiled/Hard Luck.
August 3, 2005
Mick Jackson’s ghoulish tales combine the fevered humour of Tim Burton with a smattering of Edward Gorey‘s eccentricity and a pinch Roald Dahl‘s misanthropy to create some gruesomely sympathetic characters. Like the Pearce sisters, “tough old birds” past their prime, who live in relative isolation and “scrape a living from the sea’s secret bounty”, eating or selling what they catch after after it has a spell in their ramshackle smokehouse. Turning from an unappreciated act of charity to serial killings, the sisters preserve their gentlemen by the only method they know how. Susan Tomaselli reviews Mick Jackson's Ten Sorry Tales.