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BOOK OF THE MONTH


THE EXTINCTION CLUB Jeffrey Moore (Quercus) In Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, fugitive Nile finds teenager Celeste Jonqueres bloodied, beaten and near to death in the swamps of a frozen churchyard. The reason? She has dared to offer testimony against a notorious local poacher who has killed more animals than all of the vicious winters in living memory combined. As Nile struggles to crudely nurse Celeste back to health, a horrifying tale of the care- less – even gleeful – obliteration of an entire species is woven; if even half of what is


presented to the reader here is based upon truth, humanity is certainly a grim and cruel species. While the excerpts from Celeste’s journal occasionally prove an intrusive distraction from the deft narrative exploration of Nile’s haunted, intrigu- ing psyche, Moore weaves strands of menace throughout as he builds towards the novel’s claustophobic close. Chilling and horrifying, this is a novel to make you question the good in humanity. EMMA DAVIES


WINNERS AND LOSERS – CREATORS AND CASUALTIES OF THE INTERNET Kieran Lewis (Atlantic Books) Big thing, the Internet. There have been a number of books written around the subject but not too many quite as ambitious as Win- ners And Losers. Lewis has written a series of case studies of, yes, winners and losers over the past 30 years, and while the variety is interesting and helps keep the book moving at pace, you can’t help but feel a story like Google or Netscape deserves a full volume in its own right. An interesting, if slow, read. TB


FAITH, HOPE & LOVE Llwyd Owen (Alcemi)


Men who live at home with their parents past a certain age unnerve me, so it took me some time to warm to Alun Brady in Faith, Hope & Love. After a stint in prison for helping his long-suffering grandad, Alun is forced to rebuild his life minus his parental safety net, but instead with the help of Cardiff’s criminal underbelly. Published in Welsh in 2006, the four-year wait for an English-language version is well worth it. AB


A PLACE OF MEADOWS AND TALL TREES Clare Dudman (Seren)


An intensely moving novel based on stories about the trials and triumphs of nineteenth- century Welsh immigrants attempting to set up a Welsh-speaking colony in Patagonia. The protagonist Silas James is a character you instantly connect with, and the in-depth descriptions make you feel as though you are sitting in the Patagonian desert. A word of caution: the story is filled with tragedy, so have your tissues at the ready. KH


BRITNEY SPEARS: LITTLE GIRL LOST Christopher Heard (Transit)


I’m not sure what use this biography is as an informative guide. In the Heat age of constant ‘sleb coverage, we already know everything about Brit-Brit. Perhaps someone could take it to Mastermind for the researchers to take questions from. Their specialist subject could be The Life And Times Of Britney Spears, y’all. Heard is nothing short of reverential about the pop princess. I wanted to scrawl all over the diplomatic brown-nosing with a big, fat, cynical red pen. RB


MICROFICTION: RAG AND BONE


SIXTEEN SHADES OF CRAZY Rachel Tresize (Blue Door) On one hand, Sixteen Shades Of Crazy finds Tresize sticking to her literary award-winning formula: unflinching yarns about the lifestyles, aspirations and collective hustle of working class characters (caricatures, you might think on occasion) from her native Welsh valleys. On the other, her use of multiple narrative voices – switching between three women whose friendship seems fuelled more by convenience than closeness – ramps up the interest factor of an already highly readable book. NG


RETURNING from his monthly trip to the sperm bank Elliot waved at Dora before unlocking his junk shop and flipping the sign to ‘open’. She raised her hand, returning the greeting, her belly rising like bread before her. She couldn’t be far off now, he thought, not that she’d tell him, wasn’t one for talking, Dora. Pretty little thing, mind. Great cook too; he could see why Mario had snapped her up. Wasn’t his kid though. So he said. Whose kid it was didn’t make it to the realms of conversation either. Elliot watched as Dora disappeared into the bakery’s gaping mouth, broom in hand. He’d had a crush on her for ages but because she wouldn’t engage in chitchat he had no idea how to ask her out. Instead he removed his jacket and crossed the shop to his desk. There he was abruptly gripped by an agonising abdominal pain. This wasn’t unusual, of late, yet Elliot had no idea what was wrong with him and neither had his GP. He’d been given the all clear to continue making his hand job donations but, even then, he wasn’t feeling himself at all. It wasn’t just the cramps. He’d gained weight. He felt bloated


BUZZ 50


LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS Richard Louv (Atlantic Books) A bestseller in America, in this book about the divide between children and the outdoors author Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation to some of the problems they now face, such as the rises in obesity and depression. While it might produce some interesting topics of discussion, the author’s pedantic tone will make you want to bang your head against a wall. The book shows an impressive amount of research, but gets bogged down with anecdotes. HL


all the time. A swollen beer belly protruded but he hardly ever drank. Didn’t like the taste. He’d had to buy new clothes. Had invested in elasticated waists. Was off his normal food. Caffeine made him nauseous. His ankles swelled. Now the cramps were coming in increasingly furious waves. Elliot doubled over in agony, fell to his knees. He screamed. Across the road Dora was also screaming. As her waters broke she released a string of incomprehensible expletives while her rattled boss switched off ovens and coffee pots and ushered out customers. A woman with bug eyes and four breasts patted her arm: ‘That’s it love, you blame the bastard that did this to you.’ Dora scoffed, recalling her last visit to the sperm bank. Blame the bastard? No, not her. She wanted a baby even if she’d now created a ‘bastard’ child. A pearl from junk, joy from someone else’s rag and bone.


Susie Wild is one of Parthian’s Bright Young Things. Her debut collection of stories The Art Of Contraception is out on Wed 1 Sep 2010. brightyoungthings.co.uk


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