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The Whale Tattoo

The Whale Tattoo

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Some basic punctuation beyond full stops and commas would have fixed many of the problems with this book. The first of the books I had highlighted as a must-read for 2024 was very nearly my first five star rating of the year. Jon Ransom was a mentee on the 2019 Escalator Talent Development scheme at the National Centre for Writing.

I’m not honestly sure how well the playtext fits: it felt more interesting than essential but having finished the book I’m minded to reread that section with the knowledge of what will happen. The settings are so vividly depicted that the reader can smell and taste them every bit as much as Joe can. And, much like the elusive line between the bank of the river and land, time is a shifting entity within the parameters of the story. It may seem contradictory (so much of this novel is), but equally impressive, in spite of the bleakness of Joe’s life and events, there is beauty ever present—be it in Ransom’s writing or the final events which flood the pages of the novel like a rising tide.

Joe Gunner and the river that keeps mocking him, the death that follows him around and the fragility of everything he holds dear in this book broke my heart as much as it had me glued to each page.

The only thing is Norfolk itself doesn't feature as much, having spent a lot of time there when I was younger, and given the prominence of the description, I rather thought it was going to be a book that was of it's time and place. Through his encounters with Jimmy, Eli learns more about himself, his sexuality, and what happened to his mother who was thought to have drowned during the flood. With the repetitive use of some phrases and jumping from scene to scene seemingly randomly the whole story seemed chaotic and much of the time impossible to follow. Kit de Waal: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood Kit de Waal’s influence across contemporary British literature is so broad as to be almost immeasurable.

The novel is very firmly rooted in East Anglia, having personally driven around here recently during a period of extremely heavy rain. This was an incredibly immersive and compelling read, that was at times dizzying, often heartbreaking, and with just enough hopefulness to keep my head above water.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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