September 2021 Book Blog

It’s been a funny old month. It started with the every reliable Mr King. His latest novel, Billy Summers, has barely any supernatural elements, apart from a nod to The Shining and Doctor Sleep. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and loved the way that it was told. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I’ve not wanted the latest King as soon as it came out, and nothing has changed.
From King to Datlow, with a similar theme, if there’s a new Ellen Datlow anthology around, I want it. I waited a long time for ‘The Best Horror of the Year Volume 12’, indeed, it’s almost time for Volume 13. I find Datlow’s tastes similar to my own when it comes to short stories, so her collections are always welcome on my shelves.
So, the first half of the month was taken up by two predictable, reliable and enjoyable books, and I moved on to a collection of flash fiction. ‘Root, Branch and Tree’ is an anthology of many very short stories on the theme of family. With such a huge selection of stories from all around the world, some did fail to capture my imagination, but there were enough quite brilliant stories and ideas to make the anthology a worthwhile read.
Gillian Polack’s ‘The Year of the Fruitcake’ arrived on my shelves in a fairly unusual manner. An acquaintance of mine had ordered a copy from a local bookshop, and due to some confusion, the bookshop had ordered a second copy by accident. I decided to take it off their hands and took the risk of a new novel by an entirely new author. It’s not an easy read, and it puts me in mind of some of the feminist science fiction of the late twentieth century, especially the work of Josephine Saxton. The unreliability of the narrator made me wonder more than once if we were reading the journal of a powerful alien with the authority to destroy the earth, or the journal of a lonely woman looking for meaning in the deterioration of her mind and body, and the loss of those she loved. Overall, a fascinating read. This last novel leaked over into October a little, but I’m including it in the September blog.

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