Sunday, 29 May 2011

Saturday, 21 May 2011

'Wreckage' by Niall Griffiths


I have just finished this condensed slice of life which criss-crosses Wales and Liverpool as it follows the hopeless protagonists whilst also switching perspective to other characters and perspectives to create a full experience. At first it gives the appearance of a crime caper, but soon it becomes clear that the focus is lives and locations: people and places and the way they shape each other. However, the crime committed does drive every action, the fruits of the crime a cursed chalice that brings bad luck to each possessor.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Monsters everywhere


I've just finished David Wellington's 'monster' series: Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet. I had bought them on a day trip to that world of books, Haye-on-Wye.

Together they make up an interesting and innovative take on the zombie apocalypse genre. Monster Island shows us a world over-run by the undead, set in New York a month after the zombie outbreak began, and introduces the concept of supernatural variants such as resurrected mummies, intelligent zombies, and ghosts. The mission to find AIDS drugs for a Somalian warlord is an effective device for sending the protagonist on this dangerous quest, since it brings the themes of decay, danger and disease to the fore. The tone is bleak right from the start: on the first pages the protagonist reaches Manhattan Island and sees the lines of 'waving' people, but it is soon clear that they are not survivors.
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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Mid-term report


Image by hisks

I have just submitted my mid-term bursary report to Literature Wales. So, how far have I got since my first draft a long time ago in a land far far away, where the teapots stay warm forever and the monkey children play? (I am talking about Manchester.)

Years ago I paid for an Academi Reader's Report (Academi being the old name for Literature Wales). The report was really well written and a mixture of praise and constructive criticism delivered with a wicked sense of humour to sweeten the pills. An example of the yummy praise:
"Despite a fair smattering of laddish banter, sex, drugs and rock and roll, the overall tenor of the story is essentially romantic: all the main characters, male and female, can have sex when they feel like it but find love harder to come by. ... It takes us a while to get there but the scenes in bed are one of the best aspects of the novel: believable; passionate; even desperate."

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