Apr/May 2022

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Ann Skea reviews...

The Heart Goes Last
by Margaret Atwood

They are in a desperate state when, in a quiet moment in the bar, Charmaine sees a TV advert seemingly directed straight at her. It offers an ordered life, satisfying work, a house with a luxurious bathroom and soft towels, and a king-size bed with floral sheets. "The Positron Project is accepting new members now," says the man on the screen. Charmaine and Stan decide to apply for an interview, which they pass, and having been shown around the project and told something about it, they are allowed a short period back in the world outside the Project's gated town to think about it. The only disadvantage seems to be that once they are in, it is permanent..

by J.R.Thorp

Lear's wife may have been exiled, shamed, and forgotten, as she tells us, but in Learwife, J.R. Thorp's superb, sustained feat of ventriloquism gives her a life, a voice, and a character all her own, and enough emotional and psychological depth to make her live in our imaginations. Thorpe allows us to judge her occasional cruelty, understand her anger, her longings, her love for her children, and her frustration. We can admire her cunning and her fortitude, and see how age and circumstances change her, throwing her deeper into her memories, where the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her

The First Astronomers
by Duane Hamacher with Elders and Knowledge Holders

The names of stars and constellations used by astrophysicists and Western astronomers derive from Latin and Greek mythology where they, too, have stories linked to them. Unlike the stories still told by indigenous peoples, however, any practical lessons linked to these stories have been long forgotten. Hamacher notes, too, scientists have often dismissed indigenous stories and traditions as "folklore" only to find there is truth in them.

The Sorrow Stone
by Kάri Gίslason

So Disa begins to tell her story, remembering her childhood and how, as the eldest, she looked after her brothers, Kel and Gils (Gisli), when her mother was tired and in pain. She remembers how they would go to the beach and watch the ships return laden with treasures and, sometimes, with a girl from the slave market; and how, once, they joined a crowd around a preacher who talked of Lord Jesus. She tells of the way her brothers "jumped on each other's backs and the high clouds circled the fjord and left space for the sun on the water," and how she had watched the slave girl, "a little older than me," and seen the fear in her eyes..

The Colony
by Audrey Magee

Magee writes fluently and imaginatively. Each character comes to life as an individual with an inner world of their own, and their conversations, humor, and emotions carry the main story easily and enjoyably. Interspersed between chapters, however, are stark, coldly objective reports of the 1979 atrocities in Ireland. Details of the attack are listed, and the dead are named along with their occupation, family, and their political background (if any)..

Stuart Ross reviews...

Fuccboi and other "daddy issues" novels
by various authors

This debut novel about an aspiring writer and the "question of authorship" has a laugh-out-loud Topher Grace joke and an Andrew Martin-worthy riff on why angry sex is the best sex. The word irony is all over the place, even though there's little dramatic irony—even though, ironically, the novel is very, very dramatic. Our prissy hero, Caleb Horowitz, is a good cook, and therefore insufferable about people who aren't.