Thursday, 29 November 2018

Attend by West Camel

I really enjoyed this gem of a read and I hope you do too.

Don't miss the fantastic BlogTour starting on Saturday the 1st of December and running for the entire month. Read the schedule at the bottom of this post to follow my fellow bloggers, as they take this debut book by West Camel, published by Orenda Books, for a ride through the Bloggerverse.

About the Author
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.

He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Follow @west_camel @OrendaBooks on Twitter
Visit westcamel.net
Buy Attend


About the book
When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.


Review
I think the first assumption one makes about this story is that Deborah is some kind of forlorn spirit or a ghost who is destined to wander the streets of Deptford for eternity. The truth is so much more complex. It's also what gives this story an essence of eccentric charm. You never really know for certain whether she is real, is she a figment of imagination or is she really walking among the living waiting for the right circumstances?

The only trouble with magical realism is the fact it is hard to distinguish between what is real and which elements belong in the magical category. So, with that said I am off to go look for Deborah in the tunnels or in her abode by the river.

One of the most poignant moments in the book is when Deborah asks if Anne and Sam can really see her. If you set aside the story for moment, it speaks to the lack of compassion and empathy in our society. The lonely walk through our world like invisible people. We look away from and turn our backs on things that make us uncomfortable, including the homeless, the abused and invisible in our society.

Not everyone sees Deborah, which in itself says a lot about the world she lives in, and a lot about the people who can or do see her. Does she connect with Anne and Sam because they need her in exactly that moment in time? Are their inner struggles and demons like a flare in the darkness for Deborah? Or do the paths of this threesome meld because fate has dictated this path for them?

I can't tell a lie, this story drew me in further with each word. I was mesmerised by the story of the young girl in the tunnel and her magical discovery. From the claustrophobic feel of the tunnels, the mysterious piece of cloth - to the Hansel and Gretel safety thread

Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction.

Buy Attend (Kindle) at Amazon Uk
Buy/Pre-order Attend (Paperback - pub date 13 December 2018)
Publisher: Orenda Books

Starting on the 1st of December - the Blogtour for Attend by West Camel:


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