Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Friday, 18 June 2010

"Tell it Like it Might Be" by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs (Smokestack, 2008)

Given the author's scientific background I was hoping to like this, but in the end wasn't excited. The leaps of imagination landed too often on prepared imagery from Nature or Religion, and the language, keen not to be misunderstood, sometimes over-explains - e.g. "Identity Crisis" begins "Ghost stories do not usually begin/ in hotel lavatories/ even when they're euphemised/ as shady-sounding cloakrooms" which is plodding prose. "Loss Adjusters" has "slightly shiny uncut hair /has curled, untidy as an unkept promise", which bugs me in a few ways - too many words; the hint of "unkempt", and the way the comparison uses a vague, invisible happening to describe an observable (rather than v.v.). "Close Enough for Jazz" was ok enough.

"Masquerade" has 4 4-lined stanzas. The 1st stanza begins "I longed to tell her things about myself". Subsequent stanzas begin "I longed to tell her things. About myself", "I longed to tell her. Things about myself", and "I longed. To tell her things about myself". I like the idea.

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