When it comes to break-ups, I’m of the ‘only-break-is-a-clean-break’ variety. I’ve never got back with someone I’ve broken up with, and nor do I attempt to ‘stay friends’. And perhaps because these break-ups were all a very, very long time ago, I have zero curiosity about ‘where are they now?’.
I would not have been a good candidate as the main character of Sloane Crosley’s latest work of fiction, Cult Classic, a novel that centres on Lola, a New Yorker who runs into a former boyfriend. And then another. And . . . another. Lola can’t dismiss these meetings as coincidence, and begins to reflect on the qualities of her current relationship in comparison with those of her past.
It’s almost impossible to find a review of The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood without the reviewer comparing* it to Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m bucking the trend and here’s why: the central premise of both novels is extraordinary – memorable, mind-bending, frightening, and thoroughly compelling.
I read The Handmaid’s Tale decades ago. I can’t remember any of the fine detail of Atwood’s writing but I do remember the horrifying world in which the characters lived. I’m quite sure that in twenty years time, I will also remember Consilience, the walled community created for The Heart Goes Last. Continue reading
Read my review of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood here.
It’s a book that demands thought and discussion. It’s a book that is current and topical but also serves as a cautionary tale. It’s a book that is skilfully and beautifully written. It’s a book that I couldn’t put down – at the same time, I couldn’t guess where it was heading. It’s a book that I finished and thought “I need to talk to someone immediately about that last page!”.
Basically, it’s a book prize judge’s dream. And for that reason…
Will it win the Stella Prize? Yes. And I said so here and here.
Do you start singing a certain Kenny Loggins hit when you hear the words ‘comfort zone’? I do. Even though comfort and danger are pretty much opposites… Anyhoo, my comfort zone is contemporary literature. I don’t stray often but there have been some notable (and excellent) exceptions in the last year or so –
Speculative Fiction Continue reading