So many reviews of Cultured Llama books in December and January … here are just a few.
This is book fuelled by love and it examines the intense experience of fatherhood in a manner which is both exploratory and entertaining. It’s a serious achievement and I’m wondering where Thomas is going to go next.
… and in Literature Works (reviewer not named)
In my humble opinion, the sign of a good poem is that it should make you weep. That is quite a big ask I know but many of the poems in this collection do just that, by documenting the minutiae, by being at once knowing and unknowing, by pulling you in with the sheer honesty of the words – the phonetics that Thomas deploys are an added bonus, a mark of that honesty. They make you stop and really read the words.
This is a perfect book to settle down with on a rainy afternoon, a cup of tea and perhaps with the smell of welsh cakes (recipe page 61) hot from the oven.
Lynne Rees blogs on Women Writers, Women’s Books: How I Turned My Blog Into A Book
While I was lecturing on the creative writing programme at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, a couple of students asked me if I realised I couldn’t get through a seminar without mentioning food or drink. Really? I mean, really??!! But they were right. And I began to notice how I might describe a bruise as being the colour of cooked liver, or identify hope in the scent of bread from a corner bakery.
Robertson’s style here, which look as if it is pencilled, suits the stark understatement of the poems very well. There is a chill in some of the poems, like the Dingo, which ends:
just the other day
a family was, thirty years too late
for them, found innocent of the murder
of their daughter in the bush.
The illustrator responds to this with humour, sometimes a black humour like the dead moles strung on barbed wire a page or two later in the book.
It is fair to say that Les Animots: A Human Bestiary did not get an easy ride in its final stages – deliveries of the books to Gordon Meade, in Fife, were delayed by the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, and Douglas Robertson was not able to get to a talk on collaboration that both poet and illustrator were supposed to deliver at the Scottish Writers’ Centre, due to the floods. A report of Gordon’s solo appearance appears here.
The Lost of Syros is reviewed in the December 2015 issue of Takahe, a magazine based in Emma Timpany’s native New Zealand:
Katherine Mansfield is a strong presence in this collection, with several stories re-imagining events from her biography, including time spent in Cornwall (where Timpany now lives). Mansfield’s ghost manifests in present-day Dunedin, as “best friends” Fiona and Laura cycle towards the Taiaroa Head albatross colony on the Peninsula. As an albatross hangs in the air “on wide white wings…eyeing them”, Laura marvels. Fiona squints at it, and remarks, “You know Katherine used to call Ida “albatross”. But Mansfield infuses all the stories, even those in which she is not explicitly named, as Timpany takes Mansfield’s themes of location and dislocation and reworks them with a contemporary eye. The Lost of Syros contains images and stories which remain with me days after finishing the book. It’s a fine collection, to which I’ll return, knowing that it will reveal layers I’ve yet to discover.
A big thank you to all the reviewers and bloggers, the unsung heroes who do so much to promote the work of authors and independent publishers.
All books mentioned above can be ordered by clicking on the book’s titles and going to their pages. Regrettably, we are raising our prices in February due to rising print and distribution costs. Cultured Llama does not receive any external funding; our only income is from book sales.
Beat the price rises by ordering before 31 January 2016.