Monday, 16 July 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Rusticles by Rebecca Grandsen

Rusticles was a pleasantly literary read after months and months of genre books, something to wrap my mind around and dig my teeth into. It's a series of short stories interconnected by themes and locations and just a general, overall mood of melancholy, my favourite of which is Dilapidated Flamingo, a story about a boy trying to feed a mysterious flamingo that keeps appearing in his garden. Like the other stories, character is key. There's a mystery or mysterious event occurring, but it's the emotions of the characters that are explored, with the events being catalysts for character development.

"I'm starting to think it knows I'm watching. I was at my window and it appeared from beneath, like it had been hovering around the backdoor waiting for its moment. It opened its wings right there, waving them around a little, putting on a show. Its feathers were all bent and drooping and its neck looked like someone had kicked it sideways. The flamingo proceeded to prance around the decking, its faded pinkness and rotten skinned legs making me feel sorry for it."

I don't want to talk too much about the stories, because each one is like a little gem waiting to be mined and best discovered on a one-to-one basis. What's paramount is the writing, and the confidence to take risks with it (one story has no punctuation but has a wonderful rhythm). Early on there was a vague feeling of the writing riding the cliff-edge of trying too hard, but you soon realise there is a solid understanding of how to develop a sentence or a paragraph. The writing is tight, pleasingly devoid of passive tense, and when you get a long, complicated sentence, it's followed by some shorter ones. The prose rises and falls poetically.

Check it out!

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