I’m left-wing. I think I know what that means, but I’m never sure.
With the third book’s first draft completed and no more deadlines at this point in time, I’ve begun recharging after years of frantic scribbling. The first book I chose to read after coming up for air is a book I wish I’d read before starting writing at all.
I’ve been busy finishing my third novel. While I was wrestling with it over the last few months I managed to read a few books I’m now ready to recommend.
“In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.”
1930’s rural England seen through the eyes of a troubled young girl coming of age and a high-octane rollercoaster fantasy set in a bleak, violent and ancient city were my January reads.
I needed to step away from sff reading at least briefly, mix it up. I got a blast of something beautiful.
In the last episode… I had just seen my book for the first time in a bookshop. March 2016.
The Green Man figure from the folklore of numerous cultures and religions manifests in these two glorious novels as a righteous and very english force; a saviour of tradition, a keeper of continuity.
“Everything we love is about to die, and that is why everything we love must be summed up, with all the high emotion of farewell, in something so beautiful we shall never forget it.”
My second novel is called The Winter Road and it’s out in November. It’s been a journey.
As saddened by the whole Hugo ‘puppy’ bullshit as any right-thinking person would be, it did introduce me to The Fifth Season, so thank you for that guys.
This is a big chunk of my latest newsletter. I’ll drop them in here from time to time so you can see the kind of things that my subscribers have agreed to be sent to their inbox, those lucky/weird people (delete as appropriate)…
I love Jeff Vandermeer’s work because I love HP Lovecraft’s work. But I enjoy Vandermeer more. Horror describes the ways in which people strive to escape the painful and grisly annihilation of the self. It can be personal or impersonal, understandable or insensate. It can also describe our confrontation with the unfathomable.
Here’s the contents of the first newsletter I sent out to my first couple of subscribers :) If you’d like some of this in your inbox occasionally, you can sign up via the link above! The future is quieter.
…aka ‘Why I’ve decided to boycott Facebook and Google.’
I’m reading a bit of sci-fi at the moment as I’m woefully under-read in the genre. How lovely to have these two line up back to back.
Dark Tales, by Shirley Jackson, is a hugely effective collection of short gothic horror stories written in the fifties and sixties. She died in ’65. I confess, like many I’ve spoken to about this book, not to have heard of her until a recent review of this collection, many of which were originally published in The […]
“But preserve your mistrust of the page, for a book is a fortress, a place of weeping, the key to a desert, a river that has no bridge, a garden of spears.” Sofia Samatar I’ve long been fascinated by virtuosi and recently I’ve read two almost without equal.
I do almost all my reading on the bus. Thus, my go-to indicator of a great read is how surprised I am that I’ve reached my destination.
“I was brilliant. Not just your run-of-the-mill brilliance either. I was extraordinarily brilliant.”
In the last few weeks I’ve read two great books; both are clever and both feature a strong central trio of characters.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant bolsters the list of fantasy genre writing that pushes its boundaries and should invigorate the genre’s authors and fans.
They’ve always seemed easy to parody, the Abstract Expressionists. ‘They just flicked paint about’, ‘can’t they draw?’ etc. So I was as surprised as anyone to fall in love at the RA exhibition last weekend.
Brian Catling’s The Vorrh is a very beautifully written book, with the most unforgettable first chapter I’ve read in years.
All my life, on a clear night, I look up. The vast, hypnotising beauty of eternity surrounds us; unmediated, glorious, silent. A tilt of my head pinions me helplessly on the spear of my curiosity, my meaning. I want to explore.
Where do I begin? While this is not my favourite book, it is the best novel I’ve read. Pynchon, for me, is the most accomplished writer in English alive. Here is my impossible benchmark.
If the awards and critical acclaim have not steered you towards the fractious company of the two foremost English magicians of the nineteenth century, then it is unlikely my meagre addition to the chorus will tip the balance. Nevertheless, I exhort you to go get this enchanting novel.
Amy Winehouse had voice to burn, a sound burnished by a drunk god showing off, like He took a bet to make another Billie Holiday and won the bet with a sad contempt.
David Simon’s The Wire is high on all lists of unmissable television. I’ve heard many people describe season 2 as the weakest season. I completed it over the weekend and hope this is true, if only because it was riveting.
This is a story about superheroes in the second world war and beyond, a counterfactual fantasy. At first you will rightly think of Watchmen and X-Men but Lavie Tidhar has created something here that is more bleak and more noir, as though the X-Men had been re-told by John le Carré.