Someone had pitched me into the freezing waters of a dark and pitiless lake. Monstrous predatory creatures circled in the primordial gloom. High above, a pinpoint of grey light flickered on the edge of extinction. I had to swim for that light – swim for it or else sink into unfathomable loss …
Out of the Wilderness: A non-literary book review of A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety, by Michelle Balge
As Michelle Balge acknowledges in her epilogue to A Way Out, the trouble with mental illness is that so much of it is ‘about me, me, me and how I’m insecure, but this is what these illnesses do to you.’ It follows that A Way Out does not hesitate to divulge its author’s most intimate secrets in her long battle with depression and social anxiety. Such honesty and candour lays bare an individual life in ways that illuminate our own experiences of mental illness: in speaking of herself, she speaks of us all.
Feed the Monkey is just one of many excellent blogs reviewing books for this event. I shall be dropping by as many of them as I can, so please take a look at them as well.
The novel I chose to review is The Book of Air by Joe Treasure. Fortunately for us all, it turned out to be among the best books I have ever read, as you will see when my review is published on 27 March.
Giles Manningtree had the annoying habit of latching on to me simply because we were the same nationality. He believed fellow-countrymen should stick together and defend their common culture before it was trodden underfoot by ignorant Gallic hordes. I wondered what had induced him to set up shop in Paris in the first place. There was forty years’ difference in our ages, but he looked ten years older than that. He had actually lived through the 1960s; unfortunately, he’d been too stoned to remember much about them.
New Friendships, Old Trauma: Book review of Tess and Tattoos, a short story by H. A. Leuschel
Tess and Tattoos by H. A. Leuschel is a short story whose thematic concerns revolve around the figure of Tess, a cultured woman in her eighties who resides in a Scottish care home, and whose life is reaching its end. Lonely and isolated, she strives to preserve her independence and dignity, but is haunted by her troubled past and a sense of a life wasted. Tess is a well-drawn, sympathetic character and the environment of the care home and its gardens is competently realized.
I write literary and contemporary fiction: novels and short stories.
I also write book reviews and blog about writing, publishing and indie authors.
My career is in publishing: writing, copyediting, project management, both in-house and as a freelancer.