Book Review – Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope

Here (away from it all)

Here (away from it all) is a 1969 novel by Polly Hope, originally published under the pseudonym Maryann Forrest. On an unnamed Greek island, often swamped with tourists, a small number of wealthy expatriates from around the world live a fairly carefree, relaxed lifestyle in one of the island’s villages. Our unnamed narrator lives with her husband, only referred to as “N,” and a number of her children. One lazy summer’s day the island is covered in a thick layer of dust, as if the fallout of some cataclysmic incident. Communication with the rest of the world ceases after this “Day of the Dusting” and leaving the island becomes hazardous. Left to their own devices, the precarious relationship between the native islanders and the foreigners stuck there begins to fall apart, as some of the old traditions come back into fashion and the expats realize they may never have been as welcome as they thought.Read More »

Writing Report #9

Oh my goodness, I did not realize how long it has truly been since I posted one of these. Seven months. I have been remiss in my commitment to putting these out to keep myself on track, and honestly there has been a lack in work to show for that. I am sorry, though more sorrow than apologetic. I just ought to do better.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and with certain things developing for me in the more than half a year since I posted one of these, I thought I should make damn sure I post one this month before the year is over with.Read More »

Book Review – Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West

Exit West is a 2017 novel by Mohsin Hamid that blends fiction and magical realism. The story follows dual protagonists Nadia and Saeed, a young woman and man who live in an unnamed city that is gradually beset upon by militants. Though Nadia is more independent and outspoken, which goes against tradition, and Saeed is generally more conservative, the two begin a romantic relationship. As they try to survive day-to-day in their city, with the militants encroaching further and further, mysterious doors begin popping up there and around the world, linking places many miles apart. As life in the city becomes nearly unlivable the two seek out one of these doors to escape the daily violence and build a new life far away.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

Sabrina

Sabrina is a 2018 fiction graphic novel by Nick Drnaso, and the first ever graphic novel to make it to the longlist for the Man Booker prize. A young woman named Sabrina Gallo goes missing in Chicago, leaving her family and boyfriend, Teddy, distraught. After a month with no sign of Sabrina, her sister Sandra struggles to cope, while a grieving Teddy goes to stay with his friend Calvin in Colorado. Not long after this, VHS tapes are released to the media depicting Sabrina’s murder. The killer is identified as Timmy Yancey, who is found to have killed himself in his home after sending out the tapes. As the atrocity goes through the 24-hour news cycle and the video surfaces online the situation devolves into rampant speculation about what really happened and harassment of those associated with the victim.Read More »

The Warden Returns

Over a year ago I submitted this story to a flash fiction writing contest that asked entrants to imagine the relationship between nature and cities in the year 2099. I did not make it far in the competition, but there were thousands of stories entered that I’m sure were much more deserving and I’m honestly just happy that it marked a more official start to my journey into writing fiction.

This story was written to the contest’s specific parameters so I don’t really see myself trying to get it published elsewhere, but I wanted to put it up somewhere for people to read it. It has not been revised in any way from how it was when I submitted it. I hope you enjoy it.Read More »

Writing Report #8

Aw shucks, it’s been a minute since my last report again. There have been some small developments to write about, however, so I figured I’d do a little check-in with any of you lovely people who are interested.

In my last report I wrote about how I need to form a habit; that I write in bursts with longer periods of inactivity in between. That is unfortunately still the case and I hate myself (only a bit). I feel a little guilty about not having broken that, even though I’m sure others can relate to some degree. Anyway, enough lollygagging.Read More »

Book Review – The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The Wonder

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder is a historical novel following Lib Wright, an English nurse and trainee of the famous Florence Nightingale (the pioneer of modern nursing). She is brought to rural Ireland at the request of a committee of locals to act as sentinel to an 11-year-old girl named Anna O’Donnell. She and her family claim that through God’s will she can live without eating, and has supposedly done so for three months already. Lib’s job, working in shifts with a nun, is to continuously watch the girl for two weeks to see if she is indeed a miraculous child or merely conning her community and the people at large who flock to see her.Read More »

Book Review – If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

if on a winter's night a traveler

If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is not just one novel, but several. Told in the second-person, the frame narrative tells the story of an unnamed Reader who buys a new book, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, only to find that there was a binding issue printing the book and after the first 32 pages the same chapter is repeated throughout, leaving him unable to continue reading after a moment of suspense in the story. Trying to find a complete version of this initial novel he is mistakenly given a completely different novel by another author, which he resigns to read anyway. This too stops short at a moment of suspense, leading him further down a madcap pursuit of novels that he simply wants to finish reading.Read More »

Writing Report #7

Goodness it has been a long time since I wrote one of these; disappointingly long now that I actually look at when #6 was posted. I think it is safe to say the experiment that has been these posts has failed. Setting deadlines for myself in this way has not led to the results I was hoping for.

At any rate, I still want to post one of these periodically, just to get things down and hopefully spark some of that drive despite the lackluster results in the past. I do have things to share too, so I’m not just posting this point out how much I missed my targets.Read More »

Book Review – The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is the latest fiction novel by Canadian author Craig Davidson. Neurosurgeon Jake Baker knows that the brain is a much more complex organ than we realize. He even paints himself as nothing more than a glorified mechanic; he can help treat a physical malady like a tumour, but the deeper workings of the mind and memory are a mystery even to him. In this novel Jake recounts when he was twelve years old living in his home town of Niagara Falls—or Cataract City, as the locals called it—and the summer of the Saturday Night Ghost Club. It was organised by his eccentric uncle Calvin to explore the supposedly haunted places of the city. During this life-changing summer Jake discovers that this club is unearthing something more horrible buried in his uncle’s past, something that has been kept from him all his life.Read More »