These are the distant heroes that we had heard about, but projected in beautiful technicolor. 'The Song of Achilles' gives space for the lesser-known story of Achilles and his lover Patroclus, set during the Trojan War. It's everything you wish you'd known about Greek Mythology, wrapped up in skilful storytelling.
This might actually be my favorite short story collection of all time. Daphne Du Maurier is a fucking revelation and I'm appalled at myself for not reading this uncanny, intelligent and altogether bizarre collection earlier.
The Memory Police is one of those rare masterpieces - tackling a massive concept and philosophising on multiple important issues while not sacrificing the humanity of its characters. And on top of that, written in such a Kafka-like dream state that it leaves you, as the reader, feel totally untethered to the ground. It really unnerved me.
This absolutely captivating novel follows a lonely young protagonist Kya, who has been abandoned by her family in the swamplands of North Carolina at just 6 years old. Her mother leaves the house carrying a suitcase and doesn't look back - followed by her siblings. Baby Kya asks herself: “She knew Pa was the reason they all left; what she wondered was why no one took her with them.”
With doors opening for unusual children from all over Earth, McGuire rightly shows the true rainbow of identities that would be represented, and in turn gives us a mirror to hold up to ourselves. She extends Eleanor West’s Home, and the promise of better worlds, to everyone who feels that they don’t belong. Read this series, or else forever know that you've missed out on something special.
This novel might have been the inspiration behind DIE HARD - but rid yourself of the idea that this is John McClane. Joe Leland is a much more three-dimensional protagonist, and the novel is darker, more gritty and surprising than its movie counterpart.
‘Fear of flying’ has shown me that we - real women - are not the ones that are broken. It shines a light on how impossible it can feel to be a woman, and on how biased and constructed our points of reference against which to measure ourselves have been since we were children. As D. H. Lawrence says: “The real trouble about women is that they must always go on trying to adapt themselves to men’s theories of women.”
At just 14 years old, Turtle has already experienced trauma beyond most of us. Martin, her father, is a survivalist misogynist who loves her crookedly and dangerously. This novel is a dedication to seeing the world accurately, without veneer. The level of meticulous and beautiful detail Tallent weaves into his plot means that we miss little. We see it all.
'Elevation' is a curious thing. It contains, as so many of King’s greatest pieces of writing do, an extraordinary thing happening within an ordinary world. Scott Carey has realised that he has a strange and untreatable condition - that he is dropping pounds off his weight, without getting thinner.
Last weekend, I spent 5 hours trudging through a barren wasteland with a father “the man” and his son “the boy”, watching them starve, make mistakes, fight and protect each other - and the experience damn near killed me. Making us ask the question: What is more important to us - our lives, or our humanity?