Author Topic: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?  (Read 701 times)

What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« on: November 13, 2018, 11:51:51 AM »
Thought I'd start this in a (probably futile) attempt to split up the WAYR? thread. I mostly read new fiction although I'm not sure if many on here do.

Anyway, I've just finished Beastings by Ben Myers which, ironically, isn't particularly new. I've read quite a few of Myers' books now and whilst he jumps across genres (crime, historical, nature and general 'literary' fiction) they all seem to inhabit the same dark, grizzly, northern place. He actually lives down the road from me and in his two crime novels it becomes quite jarring the way he re-appropriates real things to put in his book. (The mention of a female folk band called The Thank-Yous in particular drew an amused 'oh, fuck off' from me.)

Beastings only really has 4 characters, all un-named. There's a mute girl and the baby she's stolen being pursued by the Priest and The Gamekeeper. It's quite a cliched book and certainly of 'a type' - shit and blood and Northern Gothic tropes all over the place - but it was really enjoyable all the same. The ending was pretty full on and I'm still thinking about it a few days later.

I'm still not sure about Myers. His big seller - The Gallow's Pole - won awards and got him a deal with Bloomsbury, and places like Caught By The River are all over him like a rash, but I think he's a bit sixth form at times. His subjects can be thrilling and vivacious yet filled with cliche. Also, he wrote that novel about Richie Manic's last days along with a couple of Green Day biographies.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 08:32:25 PM »
I just read a book called Saltwater by Jessica Andrews and it was really fucking irritating. It tells of a girl's upbringing in Sunderland in the 1980s, her alcoholic father, her travels to Ireland and to university in London and then back to ireland. the first half is pretty good but when she becomes a teenager and then gets in to music it completely loses it. She sounds like an arsehole, like a character has escaped from Skins. If it was a film there would be loads of shots of her dancing with her eyes closed and her hands making shapes above her head. She goes on about how The Libertines were a gamechanger and how after parties in London she and her friends would sleep naked on the roofs of old warehouses, daubed in glitter. I had to check that it wasn't YAF at one stage. It's got such great reviews too but it's just irritating kak.

The final, probably unfair, nail in the coffin was when I looked her up on twitter and saw a photo of her and her friends at the launch of the book.

https://twitter.com/jessicacandrews/status/1129810808639229955


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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 07:47:18 PM »
I started reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch after finding it my local charity shop for a quid but stopped at around page 70, the prose is just really bland and the plot's quite annoying, when the lead copper discovers ghosts and magic and all kinds of madness exist he's not fazed in the slightest which feels just odd, and it started to annoy me after a bit. Now I'm reading London Falling by Paul Cornell which is quite similar (in that it features members of the police finding out that magic exists) and that's enormously better, Cornell's a far better writer and in general I'm enjoying it a lot.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 08:49:27 PM »
If you like that kind of stuff, you might enjoy The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell.

Quote
It begins with a chilling scene as the seamstress Eleanor Tull throws herself to her death from a grand house in Mayfair, her skin stitched with words clotted in blood.
and there are police and magic and stuff. I read it at Christmas and really enjoyed it.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 02:24:16 PM »
If you like that kind of stuff, you might enjoy The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell.
 and there are police and magic and stuff. I read it at Christmas and really enjoyed it.

I somehow managed to miss this post but thanks for the recommendation, I'm getting some Amazon giftcards for my birthday next week so will buy it then.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 11:39:14 PM »
I just started Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I liked (not sure I loved) his Booker-winning prior effort but this has had mixed reviews. It’s easy to see why: one man’s teeming and evocative is another man’s overwritten and self-indulgent.

So far (80ish pages in the trade paperback) I’m enjoying it, but it’s certainly not an easy read. It’s a kind of mythological African fantasy - quite a step from the ’80s Jamaica and US setting of Seven Killings - and the language is twisting, the detail dense and strange, and the plot and characters hard to pin down. It threatens to be fascinating but frustrating: I often like that kind of book a lot.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 10:20:24 AM »
Just finished Adam Ehrlich Sachs' The Organs of Sense. It's essentially a darkly comic shaggy dog story, and I can see where the comparisons to Thomas Bernhard are coming from. It's very rare I get to any new book (especially a novel) so soon after publication - this came out in May, I think - but I wanted to read it quickly after seeing the reviews, and I don't regret moving it to the top of my pile. Absolutely loved it.

Now halfway through Jana Beňová's Seeing People Off, and while I'm not flying through this anywhere near as quickly, it's very readable with all its micro-observations about a bunch of Bratislava-based hipsters, and slow-burn experimentation.