Viral By Helen FitzGerald
From the author of ‘The Cry’ and ‘Dead Lovely’ comes this tale of public shaming. Su becomes the Magaluf slut after a video of her in a nightclub goes viral. It wrecks her life and tears apart her future and her family. Her mother descends into feral desperation to avenge herself on the morally bankrupt who ruined her daughter. Su was always idolised and had social approval and was blindly obedient and objectively good. But was that just masking anxiety and is that life all gone now?
This was a good tale of public shaming, media bullying, sibling rivalry, lowlifes, mother love, dark humour, ill-channelled passion, secrecy, loneliness, intermittent moral crises and the repercussions thereof.
“Until he was organised enough to run away and not get caught.”
“Breath like warm pus.”
“With a fake solemnity.”
“You can’t kill yourself eating a bible.”
“Above-average-sized genital warts.”
“I don’t want to share her.”
Broadmaw Bay by F.G. Cottan
This sees the bitter and precipitous fall of a family into bone-grinding hell due to well-intentioned choices. This is an elegant horror that sees a couple plan to relocate from London to a remote Cornish village full of potent threat and ancient pagan rites. The family only get an uneasy sense while ignoring all obvious danger signs. This was a good tale of personal woes, brutal misdeeds, moral obstinacy and a mordant twist. This has unsparingly gloomy goings on, abused trust and was taut and thoughtful. Friendly affection hides vicious and portentous deeds and a complex and devastating truth. When the genial carapace cracks, the tale gets more dread-laden. This has pain, anguish, cold callous attitudes and scarifying flourishes. This was very good even if people do speak like robots.
“Henry the serial monogamist was on the throne of England. Thankfully he never came here.”
“The tedious loser she had got herself hitched to.”
“Takeaway kebabs for all their ills, do not provoke demonic hallucinations.”
“Once summoned could not be dismissed again.”
“A usurper on the earth.”
“I do not think she died willingly or well.”
Fatherland by Robert Harris
This 1992 novel is an okay tale of alternative near future.
Florence Foster Jenkins by Nicholas Martin and Jasper Rees
Not an ambitious exploration.