Tag Archive: 2017

Mar 21

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

I did not like The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. That’s an understatement. I found the book to be annoying, miserable and nihilistic. Anyone else would have put the novel down after 50 pages, maybe at the point where an 11-year-old boy is repeatedly raped by a nun, or a girl is beaten black …

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Mar 21

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This is one of those psychological thrillers of the waiting for the penny to drop variety. I’ve actually read Pinborough’s work before, a forgettable Torchwood novel, and would have passed this one by if not for a decent write-up in the New York Times. Even without that review I might have read the book anyway …

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Mar 17

The Book of Etta by Meg Elison

I loved The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. It was raw and unfiltered, uniquely exploring the issue of female reproductive rights in the middle of an apocalypse. I loved it so much that after reviewing it on my blog I suggested the book to Kirstyn for The Writer and the Critic podcast. I then applauded …

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Mar 15

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I struggled to figure out the point of this book. I understand that Gaiman has a love for the Norse myths, but this project, which essentially re-writes those myths with a Gaiman gloss, seems indulgent to me. Not that I’m familiar with the source material (the Edda), but from what I could tell from a …

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Mar 14

Follow Me Into the Dark by Felicia C. Sullivan

Follow Me Into the Dark opens with thirty-something Kate setting aflame the hair of her step-father’s mistress Gillian. It’s possibly the least fucked-up thing to happen in the novel. In 2013 Felicia C. Sullivan wrote a memoir about her childhood. I’ve not read the book but if the back cover copy is anything to go …

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Mar 13

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell) is the best horror novella / work of fiction of the year. Am I calling it early? Abso-fucking-lutely. The opening of the novella not only sets the scene but almost immediately induces a level of tension that shouldn’t be possible so early in the piece. A woman – …

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Mar 11

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his début novel, The Sympathiser. The Refugees is his first collection of short fiction and it is truly magnificent. The title is a clear enough indication of what to expect – stories about the refugee experience – except that Nguyen provides a variety of point of views …

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Mar 10

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Iowa in the late 1990s and a video store clerk – Jeremy – is made aware by the local schoolteacher – Stephanie – that her copy of Targets – a Corman / Bogdonavich film starring Boris Karloff which I’ve never seen but heard a shitload about via Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast – has been tampered with. …

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Mar 09

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Oh Idaho, you are one shattering novel. It’s a gentle shattering like a child tapping on the shell of a boiled egg. There’s no single punch to the gut but rather a gradual build-up that leaves you devastated. At the heart of the novel – and revealed early in the book – is the death …

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Mar 08

Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson

So what to make of Steve Erickson’s Shadowbahn. It’s already been described as the first post-Trump novel, which is a tad ironic given the President – not named – in Erickson’s near future (the book is set in 2021) is female and it’s under this female President (look, we know it’s Hillary) that America fractures …

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