Review: “Tales from the Shadow Booth: Volume 3”

Oh, this is good. First, declarations of interest: I supported the initial Shadow Booth anthology on Kickstarter. There were some superb stories (Malcolm Devlin's 'Moths' in particular) but I wasn't impressed enough to buy volume 2 when it came out last year. If it's as good as volume 3 I'll be rectifying that shortly. Additionally, … Continue reading Review: “Tales from the Shadow Booth: Volume 3”

‘How the world sustains’: Kathleen Jamie

I once made a mixtape for Kathleen Jamie. Two, in fact. In my first year at University, Kathleen Jamie was the writer-in-residence. For the weekly writers' group meetings, her and three students (I was one) decamped from her office on Dundee's Nethergate to a nearby cafĂ© or pub to rant about the Tory government of … Continue reading ‘How the world sustains’: Kathleen Jamie

Review: “Hollow Shores” by Gary Budden (2017)

Some books just don't do it for you first time. Some never will, and you have to acknowledge that. Others leave spore-like traces that may not germinate for months or even years, but will eventually bring you back to them. Hollow Shores is one such for me. Published in 2017 by indie press Dead Ink, … Continue reading Review: “Hollow Shores” by Gary Budden (2017)

Marguerite Duras

Alma continue their attractive re-packaging of the Calder backlist1 with The Garden Square, one of the lesser-known gems by Marguerite Duras, best known for The Lover (l'Amant) and the screenplay for Alain Resnais's Hiroshima Mon Amour. Although grouped with the 1950s French nouveau roman, her work eschews the formal innovation of Butor or Alain Robbe-Grillet. … Continue reading Marguerite Duras

Review: “Mothlight” by Adam Scovell

I don't know where he finds the time. Adam Scovell is a film-maker, has just completed his PhD, writes articles for the BFI, runs the award-winning Celluloid Wicker Man blog, writes short stories, wrote the definitive book on Folk Horror and has now published his first full-length work of fiction. The short fictions on his … Continue reading Review: “Mothlight” by Adam Scovell

Review: “Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories” (ed. Audrey Niffenegger)

Ghost stories are back! Of course they've never been away, but the interest in Folk Horror since the turn of the decade has helped their profile to slowly rise. In addition, each Christmas the BBC now either produces a new adaptation of a classic ghost story; an original (viz. Mark Gatiss's highly enjoyable The Dead … Continue reading Review: “Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories” (ed. Audrey Niffenegger)

Fragile Remnants Buried Deep: “This Dreaming Isle” anthology

Or, Weird Fiction Against Brexit. That's too reductive a description but the timing of this publication - and editor Dan Coxon's impassioned introduction - mean it's not entirely flippant and not entirely inappropriate. Coxon was angered by Paul Kingsnorth's right-wing reading of Paul Wright's stunning 'Arcadia', a reading which "moves away from the weird, unsettling … Continue reading Fragile Remnants Buried Deep: “This Dreaming Isle” anthology

Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man

"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe" wrote Donne. Well, Mike Tomkies tried his damnedest. Tomkies's books sold in their thousands in the 1980s, but in today's Nature Writing Revival he is nowhere to be found. Both my Dad and cousin Colin (with whom I went birdwatching in my teens, chugging around Fife … Continue reading Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man

Every fertile inch: Derek Jarman’s “Modern Nature”

Dungeness occupies a peculiar place in the English psyche. If the more overtly symbolic Dover cliffs can be read as embodying England's stance toward Europe - aloof, haughty, withdrawn - Dungeness, whose geography is far less confrontational, is more ambiguous. It is an English wilderness; one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe. It … Continue reading Every fertile inch: Derek Jarman’s “Modern Nature”