RaveThe Guardian (UK)From the start, Luckenbooth gives the feel of a legend or fairy story ... A multistorey horror story reveals itself obliquely in fragments across a number of years and viewpoints, weirdly paced, the action rushed and breathless, generalised, then freezing for a moment on an unexpected scene or event. It’s like the speech of an excited child; but you soon discover that the perspective is much, much more experienced than your own ... Fagan’s booth of stories—her Cornell box of frenzies, tragedies and delights—offers the present moment in the endless war between love and capital. It’s brilliant.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)It’s hard to tell whether [the characters\'] differences are temperamental, cultural or generational, because everything we see is such a highly compressed artefact of the way Lynch narrates. Time, subjective and objective, particularly interests him. It moves so slowly for the men in the boat, he assures us ... Lynch’s lyrical, deceptively sympathetic prose softens...but never evades ... This could easily have been one of those novels about what it is to be a man ... Instead, it turns into something more lyrical but at the same time colder and more shocking, much more self-aware ... Lynch demonstrates a control over his ideas that comes from a pure lyrical telling, a speech act that, if you let it, will take you anywhere. Beyond the Sea is frightening but beautiful.
Fernanda Melchor, Trans. by Sophie Hughes
RaveThe Guardian (UK)There are no paragraphs, only chapter breaks. Paragraphing is managed instead by the full stops between extended sentences—breathless, bad-mouthed, resentful sentences, sentences that are fetid, rhythmic and readable, full of insult and gossip, anecdotes and digressions. The genius of Hurricane Season lies in the way its author encourages the reader to work with this babble to build not just the narrative of the murder, but also a picture of a poverty-stricken community further devastated by the coming of oil capital and the drugs industry ... Melchor’s deep drill into violence, femicide, homophobia and misogyny, translated with considerable verve and force by Sophie Hughes, is based on the real-life killing of a \'witch\' outside Veracruz. It’s a mystery novel, but not one presented in any manner to which we’re accustomed; a horror novel, but only metaphorically; and a political novel with deep penetration of a remarkably foul milieu ... You close the book every so often, feeling that you have learned too much. Though there are glitters of humour and empathy, Hurricane Season is an uncompromisingly savage piece of work: difficult to escape from, built to shock. Yet it’s also elating. I was left buoyed up by Melchor’s anger, elated because she had shown me things I needed to be faced with.
Andrew Michael Hurley
PositiveThe GuardianIt draws as much from children’s fiction, folk music and horror cinema of the 1960s and 70s as it does from more traditionally gothic sources. In addition to supervising his heavy traffic of issues, influences, sly reference and pastiche, Hurley adopts a discursive storytelling method. He is as happy with births, marriages and deaths as he is with hammed-up folk ritual and dialogue that splits the difference between Stella Gibbons and Susan Cooper. At the same time, he is often as parsimonious with backstory—what exactly was \'the Blizzard\'? When, exactly, did it happen? Are we to take the devil as real?—as the farmers of the Endlands are with words. As a result, the narrative strands of Devil’s Day can seem unevenly balanced. It’s easy to get lost among them ... Nevertheless, this is a story with pull. Its lively, building sense of evil is thoroughly entangled with the assumptions of the way of life depicted, that apparently timeless relationship of the smallholder and the moor ... The devil flickers and dances in the woods and John Pentecost’s self-deceptions are bared for the reader in a horrific climax.