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Monday, 24 October 2011

Cate Gardner - Nowhere Hall (Spectral Press)

I've been meaning to write up this review for some time but haven't had the chance to get to it.

Nowhere Hall is the third in the Spectral Press anthology series, and in my opinion it's the best yet. I won't go in to details about the story - ostensibly about a suicidal man named Ron, but really about much more than that - because it really is something special that you'll want to read for yourself; suffice it to say that Cate Gardner's writing is lyrical and beautiful, and she leaves a lot of the resolution of the story off the page. It's left up to the reader to determine what Ron's ultimate fate is, with Gardner pointing us in the right direction but leaving us to find our own way.

Of the three chapbooks in the series so far, this is the one with the most 'literary' style of writing. Some people will like that, while some won't - the writing can be fairly dense in places (which isn't, in my opinion, a criticism), and in others opens up into stunning poetical prose. I wasn't familiar with Cate Gardner's work before reading this story, but since then I sought out her collection Strange Men In Pinstripe Suits and would highly recommend it.

It's good to see Spectral going from strength to strength; there's a lot of talk about ways in which the press is going to continue to grow, and that can only be a good thing. If Paul Finch's King Death (due to be released on December 5th and already sold out) is as good as this, then it will have been a great first year for Spectral. I can't wait to see where they go from here.

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