Review: Adam Scovell – “How Pale The Winter Has Made Us”

Adam Scovell takes his long-standing fascination with the idea of Place a step further in this, his coldly enveloping second novel. Isabelle is in Strasbourg. Her increasingly-distanced partner has left for a trip to South America, and she's alone when she receives word of her father's suicide. So begins her slow sinking into the fabric … Continue reading Review: Adam Scovell – “How Pale The Winter Has Made Us”

Rural horror for kids! – “Marney the Fox”

Imagine "The Littlest Hobo" written by Ted Hughes... Marney the Fox was a two-page b&w comic strip featured in Buster from 1974-1976. It's been collated and nicely reprinted by Rebellion comics, who did a similarly good job on The Beatles Story (and other lost UK comic serials). Marney is a fox cub, orphaned in the … Continue reading Rural horror for kids! – “Marney the Fox”

The Japanese Proust? Yukio Mishima

Any discussion of Yukio Mishima's life and work has to deal, at some point, with his death. A right-wing nationalist appalled by the Western influence on Japanese society and culture, he tried to lead his own personal militia in a coup. It failed and Mishima immediately committed seppuku - ritual suicide - before (following the … Continue reading The Japanese Proust? Yukio Mishima

At last…Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ (1990/2014)

"At last, the night has a hero" - Cabal strapline. I've written elsewhere about the anticipation my friends and I felt in the months before the release of Clive Barker's second feature film Nightbreed in the autumn of 1990. Not that we got to see it: an unimpressive box-office in America meant it only got … Continue reading At last…Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ (1990/2014)

Kathleen Jamie: “Surfacing”

In a previous post I looked at the increasing importance of, and focus on, the natural world in Kathleen Jamie's poetry throughout her career. With hindsight, the two essay collections she has written - 2012's Sightlines and it's 2006 predecessor, Findings (surely one of the finest books of the century so far) - seem to … Continue reading Kathleen Jamie: “Surfacing”

Max Porter’s “Lanny” & Melissa Harrison’s “All Among the Barley”

First, let's agree on what these two stunning books are not. They are not Folk Horror, but they did grow in a neighbouring field. All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison and Lanny by Max Porter are two of the finest novels I've read so far this year. They're part of a growing number of … Continue reading Max Porter’s “Lanny” & Melissa Harrison’s “All Among the Barley”

The Nature Writing of Jim Crumley

"The landscape matters first and last for its own sake. It owes us nothing, yet it offers immeasurable rewards to those who revere it." April saw the publication of the third of Jim Crumley's seasonal nature studies. Following Autumn and Winter, we now have The Nature of Spring. Crumley is a well-established name in nature … Continue reading The Nature Writing of Jim Crumley

Review: “Bird Cottage” by Eva Meijer

This book took me places I didn't expect it to. Firstly, I assumed it would be a biography: of Len Howard, who left everything behind in London to pursue a life dedicated to studying the behaviour of garden birds. I was intrigued. Then, when I discovered it was a fictional re-imagining of her life, I … Continue reading Review: “Bird Cottage” by Eva Meijer