Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Men by Fanny Calder
5 out of 5 stars
Loved this book! As a member of Rosie’s review team, I look down the submissions list when it’s time to choose a new one, and I usually go for sci-fi, dystopian or something otherwise nice and dark, rarely anything about love relationships or labelled ‘women’s fiction’, but I’m so glad I stepped out of my box with this one – it’s eons away from mainstream relationship dramas.
The Men is a series of thirteen snapshots, all linked so that it’s a continuing story, about the relationships with the opposite sex that have punctuated the author’s life. It appears they’re part autobiographical, part fiction:
‘It is a tale of urban human connections crafted with no judgement or deep introspection – a window on the author’s own life at that time that will resonate and stay with you.’
Some of them reminded me of my own younger years, the racketing around and caring only about the moment, which is perhaps why I liked them so much; particularly the first one, The Singer. The writing style is great – witty, sharp, joyful, but melancholy at times, too. Some of the relationships are sad, some heartbreaking, and some made me think ‘what the hell was she thinking of’ (Rotting Man!), but those made me sad, too; loneliness can push people into all sorts of bad decisions, and I felt that the author was lonely, sometimes. Never in a victim or despairing sort of way, though she seems to become more so as the book goes on.
I loved how the book concentrates only on The Men, that she was never tempted to give more background, which would have diluted it. On occasion the writing is quite beautiful; a section about a party with an eighteenth century theme made me want to stay in it.
One point that intrigued me―earlier in the book she clearly has a high-powered job that involves much travel, though we are never told what it is. I did a bit of digging and discovered that the author is a fairly well-known environmental campaigner; all that and she can write, too.
Highly recommended; I wanted to carry on reading when I’d finished it.
A darkly brilliant debut novel by Fanny Calder, and arguably essential reading for the feminist hedonist woman in your life. City life in the 1990s. Anonymous, intense, paradoxical and sometimes lonely. A young, haunted woman falls in love with a singer. She finds she has been consumed by the relationship and when it ends – as it inevitably does – she feels unable to quite rediscover herself. Cities can draw you into even darker places, and she embarks on a series of intense relationships with thirteen men of very different types, from a rough sleeper to a millionaire, and from a transvestite to a leading politician. As she is propelled through a series of extraordinary adventures and wild parties she finds she begins to lose her own identity. Is there a way out? A raw and unflinchingly honest narrative with stripped down language that is liberating and sometimes challenging. It is a tale of urban human connections crafted with no judgement or deep introspection – a window on the author’s own life at that time that will resonate and stay with you.