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.

Monday, 7 January 2013

"Apparition and Late Fictions" by Thomas Lynch (Jonathan Cape, 2010)

Death-haunted. The first story, "Catch and Release", is an ash-scattering piece with some fishing-with-dad nostalgia thrown in (they used to fish using "spoons"). One son mixes ashes with acrylics and paints portraits of the father. Another buried them next to the grave of the father's first wife. A daughter had some in a locket. The main character drops some into the river ("like a cloud of milt") and ends up mixing them with water and eating the paste with a spoon. Earlier, "He grinned at the prospect that 'just adding water' might bring his father back". What did he learn from his father?

'Love 'em and leave 'em' is what his father used to say, and it was true. No dinner of salmon or steelhead, and they'd had plenty, ever made him feel as full as the utter mastery involved with returning the captive to its freedom, the genuine pleasure of letting it go (p.29)

In "Bloodsport" the main character's an embalmer. A man shot a fawn from the door of his trailer. Later he shot his departing from from the door as she was leaving him, shot her in the leg ("the way you do with any wild thing ... You hobble it first") then the chest.

"Hunter's Moon" is fine. The protagonist is a widower, a seller of caskets, a scatterer of ashes.

The last 2 stories involve writers. I wasn't convinced by the plot or characterisation of "Matinée de Septembre". The novella, "Apparition" felt long. I liked some of the more episodic passages but again, the plot and character development didn't impress me.

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