A while ago a really enjoyed a selection of short stories by Lara Williams, ‘Treats’ and here we have her first novel, ‘Supper Club’:
‘Supper Club is a secret society for hungry women. Each woman comes for her own reasons, carrying her own damages and needs, her own erasures and erosions…at their centre stand Roberta – cynical yet anxious, precocious and lost – searching for an answer to a simple question. If you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?
I picked up Lucie McKnight Hardy‘s ‘Water Shall Refuse Them’ based purely on the lovely front cover and the reference to ‘folk horror’ on the back:
‘The heatwave of 1976. Following the accidental drowning of her sister, sixteen year old Nif and her family move to a small village on the Welsh borders to escape their grief. Bur rural seclusion doesn’t bring any relief. As her family unravels, Nif begins to pit together her own form of witchcraft: collection talismans from the sun-bleached land. That is, until she meets Mally, a teen boy who takes a keen interest in in her, and has his own secret rites to divulge.’
One of my favourite TV shows this year has been ‘Pose’, based around the LGBT ‘ball’ culture of the 1980s. ‘This Brutal House‘ by Niven Govinden promises further voguing tales:
‘On the steps of New York’s City Hall, five aging Mothers sit in silent protest. They are the guardians of the vogue ball community – queer man who opened their hearts and homes to countless lost Children, providing safe spaces for them to explore their true selves.
Through the epochs of city nightlife, from draconian to liberal, the Children have been going missing, their absences ignored by the authorities and uninvestigated by the police. In a final act of dissent, the Mothers have come to pray: to expose their personal struggle beneath our age of protest, and commemorate their loss until justice is served.‘
Ocean Vuong received many plaudits for his poetry collection, ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ and his first novel, ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ which is ‘a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born – a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam – and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.
Finally, some Muriel Spark. I have briefly written about how much I love ‘The Driver’s Seat’ – her slender, brutal novel about a woman’s journey to death – and am determined to get to grips with her other work, starting with ‘The Hothouse by the East River’, her novel from 1973.