In fiction, it’s more fun when the watch, after pages and pages of diligent ticking, explodes, starts screaming, or shoots poop out of its dial — does something, anything, to upend the pattern or upset the conceit.
At its best Castagnet’s debut work artfully skirts overt philosophizing about mind-body relations and necropolitics, keeping this slim speculative novel at an athletic pace and leaving ample room for us to explore its marvelous world for ourselves.
THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH is more conversion narrative than odyssey, and more tall tale than either, filled with a twisty, tongue-in-cheek lyricism that calls to mind a Weird Twain.
What Allingham shows is that songs are most effective when their writers embrace the limitations their medium presents, and cannily exploit these to draw attention to their project’s artifice.
Part of what had excited me was something that doesn’t usually make for compelling criticism, that is, I had found IMAGINE WANTING ONLY THIS to be relatable.
Carter succeeds in creating a lush but airless environment in which the anxieties of “adulting” — finding direction, meaning, maintaining a home — are amplified to crippling effect.