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The Whale Tattoo

The Whale Tattoo

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I should add that this may be in part due to the formatting issues in my review copy, which often made the writing more fractured than intended).

Though this is Joe’s story, of the father he loathes, the sister he loves, it is mainly about his life-long gay relationship with a fisherman, Fysh and him coming to terms with the suicide of his mother. And, much like the elusive line between the bank of the river and land, time is a shifting entity within the parameters of the story. He developed The Whale Tattoo at Arvon Fiction: Work in Progress retreat,after winning a place on the 2018 Arts Council England TLC Free Read Scheme. Through his encounters with Jimmy, Eli learns more about himself, his sexuality, and what happened to his mother who was thought to have drowned during the flood. The Whale Tattoo’ is a stunning achievement - one of the most impressive and assured debuts I’ve ever read'.

The theme of unexpected ‘found family’ and self-acceptance reminded me strongly of Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World. And yet, there remains the capacity for love (although unnamed, unvoiced), as well as the dogged resistance against the pull of nihilism’. Relentlessly bleak at times and sometimes reading like a gritty, arthouse gay French film set in Norfolk with all its discarded fag ends, bodily fluids and grimy sex, there is nevertheless a lot to like here.

There is no real structure to the chapters and it floats from one event to the other never really landing on an event and describing it in any great detail leading to me not really caring about the characters or their stories. This book felt reminiscent of something like a Max Porter or an Andrew Michael Hurley, at the same time shot through with shades of Douglas Stuart. The liquidity of the prose, the references to water, and the impact of such water in the plot, create an almost dreamlike state so that it is difficult to know what Joe is remembering accurately, what he has devised for his own purposes and what is a manifestation of his considerable grief. When he meets up with his ex-lover, Tim Fysh, events spiral as Joe is caught between Tim’s aggressive brother Doug, Tim’s pregnant wife Dora and his own homophobic father.In sometimes dream-like, deliberately disjointed language, a tale is told of after a flood in early 1950s east England somewhere. And yes, there’s quite a lot of sex, which feels entirely appropriate for these lads, at their age, in this setting - again furthering the essence of the protagonist’s voice. The books first big surprise could have been handled more adeptly (I can’t say more, no spoilers here). We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. I find they pull me in, that I end up devouring them in one go while my head whirrs like an overclocked computer.

You can read more about the purposes for which we and our partners use cookies and manage your cookie settings by visiting our Cookie Policy.The story assumes a non linear structure, almost like throwing broken pieces on the ground and arranging them into a collage, an epic of loss and ultimately hope. Gritty and unsettling, Jon Ransom has crafted a story of discovery and loss, the circularity of life and the shockwaves which ripple out from the centre of tragedy’. The roundabout is populated by typical garish painted horses with a single horse painted grey The author uses this as a metaphor for the main characters difference being an overtly camp homosexual man.

Despite this, it is worth persisting, and I suspect, it's a book that needs to be read more than once. That restlessness that keeps you up all night, when the moon is as bright as a dinner plate licked clean, won’t last for ever. Support our vendors this winter and beyond If you can't visit your local vendor on a regular basis, then the next best way to support them is with a subscription to the Big Issue. His sister, Birdee, has taken up with a one-armed former soldier, and Joe rekindles the relationship he had with another youth, Tim Fysh, a local fisherman—a relationship which is both loving and essential to both of the young men, but brutal at times.Ransom's fractured, distinctive prose highlights the beauty and brutality of his story, his extraordinarily vivid sense of place saturates the reader with the wet of the river, and the salty tang of the heaving sea. I’d had heard the great storm of 1952,when there I was a bad winter storm at the same time as high spring tide, which caused catastrophic flooding throughout a large part of the east of England around the wash. It's one of those books where you know something bad is about to happen, something bad has happened - an impending sense of underlying doom. Finishing THE WHALE TATTOO, readers are likely to close the cover, sit and wonder, basking in the presence of having had a unique reading experience.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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