epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: Hollow Pike + When Gravity Fails + Lost Girl

Hollow Pike by James Dawson
This 2012 novel is the 1st from the author of ‘Cruel Summer’. This is a good tale of squalid psychopathological acts, rustic gags, stigmatising comments, selective justice and a seriously damaged girl named Lis. She moves to the village of Hollow Pike to get away from bullying. Naturally she runs right into the unvarnished realities of teenage life in her new home.

Laura Rigg has blistering contempt and bristling hostility and sees it as her moral duty to bully. The very world weary Lis has an ugly altercation with Laura but tries to take comfort with her new friends. However more is going on in Hollow Pike than teen drama, bullying and cultural homogeneity. There are dark stories from the past, odd events, portent and prophecy and generically evil types lurking in unexpected places.

This is a deeply eighties novel despite being published in 2012. Still it causes infectious delight. Is Hollow Pike operating under a giant delusion? Are variously appalling people telling the truth? Or does deceptive chumminess hide evil, social exclusion and alarmist rhetoric? I enjoyed this.

Best Lines:
“I stole them off a tramp, right after I shagged him.”

“He looked pretty bloody dead.”

When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger
This 1988 novel is a cyberpunk tale about violent, misogynistic, transphobic drug addict Marid Audran. He is a bum in the Budayeen slum in an improbable future. He has ironic contempt, exquisite ennui and polite distain for various eye-rollingly puerile goings on. He also has occasional hostility and frequent indifference to his love interest. The stark reality is that he does not live a life that is happy, safe or joy filled.

But he likes his ersatz misery. Then a serial killer starts roaming the Budayeen and Marid has to do something about it. Shame he is a total dud as a human being and is lacking all humanity and goodwill. He is indifferent to how staggeringly offensive he is and how fragile his superficially freewheeling existence is.

Marid is full of arrogant contentment and has cruised through life without ever imaging the consequences. But as the doom-struck victims pile up, his venal defiance and subtle complicity with the loathsome Budayeen and its knee-jerk cruelty leads to an incredibly disturbing, deeply troubling outcome for the thuggish cynic/fearless idiot. This is a good tale of pseudo-gloom and people who don’t so much live as exist.

Best Lines:
“The kind of people who get themselves murdered,”

“It wasn’t a likable personality at all.”

“How much the months fly when you take a lot of drugs.”

“A Eur-Am myth.”

“You didn’t dare trust him as far as he could run with a camel on his back.”

“I’ve seen handfuls of sand with more conscience than you.”

Lost Girl by Adam Nevill
Nevill has finally written another good horror novel. It is 2053 and the world is collapsing under climate change and rampant criminality. Two years ago a father’s daughter was abducted. He has gone mentally AWOL and is hunting down those who took her with excruciating solemnity, bitter knowledge and rueful resolve. There are endless moral conundrums as the distressingly unhinged man breaks all the moral boundaries and encounters ghastly strangeness as he quests over onward in calamitous caustic world. This was very good.

Best Lines:
“More alcoholics than he beloved possible in any single place.”

“Orange juice squeezed fresh by Portuguese refugees in a distant grove on Welsh land where sheep had once grazed.”

“Those Neolithic teeth.”

“He’d developed a good eye for contrived bids for sympathy and remorse.”

“An indication of what the man knew was coming for him.”
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review

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