BOOKS

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Wild Quiet By Roisin O’Donnell

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From the current powerhouse of Irish fiction New Island Books comes the arrestingly brilliant ‘Wild Quiet’ written by the supremely talented Roisin O’Donnell who blows up the competition with her debut anthology; where every story is wonderfully crafted and delicately executed making ‘Wild Quiet’ a ride you’ll never want to forget.

A Fish Trapped Inside The Wind by Christen Gholson

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A Fish Trapped Inside The Wind is an artful piece of magic carried off by a master illusionist. It follows a significant cast of characters, all residing in the small town of Villon in Belgium, linked in the most surprising and subtle ways. There is Guy Foulette, the illusionist. Marie Ledoux, the seer. Father Leo, the lover. Raoul, the seeker. Liesl Grafft, the stranger. Casimir, the player. And a few other key characters: Poisson, Marie’s alcoholic husband. Phillipe, a young boy and son of a local doctor. The appellations of the main cast, like much of what is contained in the pages of A Fish Trapped Inside The Wind, are often illusionary, temporal and deceiving. Hold on to that thought.

Tribulations by Richard Thomas

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‘What’s your earliest memory?’ So a young girl is asked by her grandfather at the end of the world, and her answer, like much of what is contained in the pages of Tribulations, will surprise you. This short story collection by Richard Thomas, released earlier in 2016, is something of a miraculous rarity, a  collection that is as thematically unified as it is diverse in its explorations, as coherently stylised as it is eclectic in voice. There is increasingly a trend in the music world for the album which is a collection of songs, far flung from the days of Origins of Symmetry, where an album hung together like stanzas in a ballad. The same is mirrored in the literary world, with many short story collections functioning more like a timeline of stories penned by the same author. Tribulations is different, and stands out as such, but it is not only the thematic unity which sets it apart, but also the deft, confident handling of narrative prose which marks a real master at work.

The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

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Ross Armstrong is a working actor from North London who has appeared on stage and screen, with his most recent outing the new series of ‘Ripper Street’. ‘The Watcher’ is his first novel which is due for release by Harlequin on the 29th December 2016 – just the thing to help you survive the festive period and start your new year.

THIRST by Benjamin Warner

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Thirst is an intense, stark thriller set in rural America which imagines a world without water, depicting a staggeringly convincing breakdown of society and order. Whilst the author Benjamin Warner is certainly to be praised for his prose style, which remains crisp and poetic throughout, Thirst does not quite successfully land the emotional ending it is striving towards.

THE RATS by James Herbert

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It’s London and the early 1970s. The city still bares the marks of the Blitz, peppered with rubble strewn bomb sites, and the flowery hope of the swinging sixties seems to have withered, poisoned by Britain’s industrial, economic and political decline. This is the backdrop to The Rats, James Herbert’s 1974 horror classic.

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs

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Ransom Riggs is a New York Times best selling author and the mastermind behind the dark, imaginative and arrestingly brilliant ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ published by Quirk Books. The book was originally released back in 2011 but there has been a surge in the popularity of the novel due to the film adaptation; directed by the captivating and disturbingly visionary mind of Tim Burton…

GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS by Max Porter

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On occasion you come across a book that is so mesmeric, so delicate, intricate and beautiful that awe is the only appropriate response. Grief is the thing with feathers by (shockingly) debut author Max Porter is just such a book. Describing the novel is difficult. For a start, the term novel fails to adequately describe the format, it’s just the best heuristic at hand. Grief is in reality part-prose, part-poetry, part-academic text, part-abstract, freeform, memoir. And it’s all of this within a slender 114 pages…

CHASING EMBERS by James Bennett

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Chasing Embers is a novel about a shape-shifting dragon with an identity crisis, torn between a normal human existence and the mythological roots from which he originates; in many ways, the narrative of Chasing Embers reflects this turmoil, unsure of what it is, at times resembling a naïve procedural YA title and at other times trying to come across as hard-hitting adult fiction…

HOSTAGES by Oisin Fagan

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New Island Books have been busy releasing the anthologies ‘The Glass Shore’ and ‘The Long Gaze Back’ and in their wake is an undiscovered gem of a book and we here at STORGY are extremely excited that we found the wonderful anthology that is ‘Hostages’ by the rather unknown Oisin Fagan  (but not for very long according to the STORGY office). I first stumbled across Oisin Fagan when his wonderfully original, violent and masterful ‘The Hierophants’ won the Penny Dreadful Novella Prize a magazine I have read quite a lot of and highly recommend to those interested in independent fiction…

DEATH AND THE SEASIDE by Alison Moore

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A woman living in a lifeless, depressing seaside town wakes one night to find a blank piece of paper has been slipped beneath the door to her room. The woman, Susan, lives above the pub where she works. Hers is an unsatisfactory, depressing existence that, we soon learn, is the creation of another woman, Bonnie Falls, who also works an unsatisfactory, depressing job in a lifeless, depressing town in the Midlands, where she writes stories on the side but rarely finishes them. Death and the Seaside establishes this dynamic in its opening pages…

SWEET HOME by Carys Bray

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This collection of short stories by Carys Bray is one of the best anthologies by an English author for a long while. I found this so entertaining as I am a parent of two beautiful girls that are around the same age as some of the children in these stories. Whilst also seeing myselfand my extended family within these well-crafted stories; I don’t know whether this was good or bad but enjoyed the ride nonetheless!…

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM by J K Rowling

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Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them begins with an introduction – by way of dramatic effect – to our protagonist Grindelwald– via a montage of his villainous acts (for the novice, a montage is a series of moving shots, in this case; newspaper articles). It works well, however,  I couldn’t help but desire more; I wanted to know the in and outs of the various atrocities and acts of terrorism previously performed, which in novel format, may well have been uncovered. In a screenplay, this type of background information is rarely required and largely,alluded to, particularly as the screenplay is theoretically a working document – what actors and crew use on set, thus overloading it with large sections of backstory etc is unnecessary for many who make use of the screenplay…

IMPACT by Rob Boffard

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Impact by Rob Boffard is an enjoyable slice of survival sci-fi, comparable to recent bestsellers such as The Martian or Hugh Howey’s Wool. Its central conceit is a familiar one. Nuclear fallout has rendered the Earth almost uninhabitable. This has forced humanity, bar a few hardy souls, to flee to ‘Outer Earth’, a series of orbiting space stations. But now the planet appears to be reviving and explorers, both willing and unwilling, are returning to see whether civilisation can be renewed…

HACK by Kieran Crowley

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Kieran Crowley loves alliteration and hasn’t met an adjective he doesn’t at least like. The first sentence of his novel, Hack, reads: ‘On my third day on the job at the tabloid New York Mail, I was weaving a quiet, climate-controlled cocoon of predictability inside my beige, carpeted cubicle.’ Two sentences later we get: ‘I watched a flock of dirty pigeons in tight formation wing up from the unseen sidewalk below, shape-shifting past my window, mounting the space between the buildings.’…

FATES OF THE ANIMALS by Padrika Tarrant

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This collection came very highly recommended; I was a huge fan of her work from previously reading her collection ‘Broken Things’ and her fiction novel ‘The Knife Drawer’ both of which I would recommend you popping to the shop and purchasing…along with ‘Fates of the Animals’. When opening the book and fingering my way through the first few pages, I was astonished by how many short (short) stories were in this collection forty-five yes that’s right….forty-five beautifully crafted short stories in this anthology Published by SALT…

THE HATCHING by Ezekiel Boone

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In the immortal words of Henry Jones Jr: “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” Okay, scrap that. Although some people have a fear of serpents (sure, they’re slithery, writhing fork-tongued devil creatures and in some instances, very deadly), the subject that we’re talking about today is Spiders. The hairy, creepy, clicking and skittering kind that devour flesh and incubate themselves inside a living human host. That type of spider…

THE HIDDEN PEOPLE by Alison Littlewood

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The Hidden People is a novel firmly steeped in the Gothic tradition, with Victorian-styled prose that explores the familiar dichotomies pertinent to literature of that era: city versus rural, genteel versus peasant, fact versus fiction, real versus imagined. Unfortunately, the effect it produces on the reader is also one of dichotomy: at times carrying off a fantastic atmosphere and convincing narrative voice, and in other instances, losing its way and falling short of the mark of true catharsis…

HABIT by Stephan McGeah

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Sometimes the change in tone, in storyline, of a novel can be so unexpected, so jarring, that the reader feels completely derailed. It’s as if you’re on your way somewhere expected, you’re enjoying the travel and the view, when all of a sudden there’s an almighty crash, the ground is suddenly the sky and people are screaming…

THE BEGINNING OF THE END by Ian Parkinson

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There’s a problem that faces authors trying to write characters with a mental illness. Being inside the head of someone with a psychological condition doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting experience for the reader…

THE LONG GAZE BACK by Sinead Gleeson

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No place I have ever visited celebrates the authors it has produced with quite somuch gusto as Ireland. The English habit is to adduce Wordsworth and Shakespearewith the same smugness with which you then profess never to have read them, while in the U.S. the title of any major novel is rarely mentioned without being followed by the words “they made a movie out of it with”…

THE TREES by Ali Shaw

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It is often hard for an author to bring something new to an already overworked, packed genre like the post apocalyptic realm. Ali Shaw not only delivers, he has crafted himself his own sub-genre. Skillfully extracting elements from familiar territories and weaving them together into a colourful tapestry with mastery; he has created the quite stunning and aptly titled ‘The Trees’…

DODGE AND BURN by Seraphina Madsen

This book is a beautifully crafted psychedelic road trip written by debut novelist Seraphina Madsen, published by the independent UK Publishing company DoDo Ink. Dodge and Burn crosses many genres and is reminiscent of the crazy heights of the late great Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, mixed with the strong female sass of a Sigourney Weaver from ‘Aliens’ and the dark fairy tale storytelling found in the great Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’…