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"After Life" by Rhian Ellis (book review)

So I've been waiting for an order from Amazon, which includes the final book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. In the meantime, I'm reading After Life by Rhian Ellis. Absolutely gorgeous writing and a compelling story as well. I found it while browsing the shelves at the library. It's nice when that happens, when you discover a really great book by accident.

Here's a passage from the book, which is about a woman who has a secret and lives in a town populated by mediums and spiritualists, one of whom is her mother.

When I was a child, I believed in everything, without even trying. But in the years after my grandmother died, I found faith to be a trickier thing, something that could wriggle away the minute I had my hands around it, like a wild animal. It wasn't a sudden transformation. I gradually grew embarrassed of my mother and her clothes and her exotic mediumship.
The writing is deceptively simple and carefully crafted, with lovely images and phrases. The genre is magical realism but it is a little more subtle in that aspect than, say, some of Isabel Allende's work. The writing reminds me a little of Margaret Atwood's later books, such as Alias Grace or Blind Assassin.

I'm pretty sure it was Annie Dillard who said "Be careful what you read, for that is what you will write." Well, this book is a joy to read and anyone would do well to let Ellis' writing influence their own.

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1 comment:

Eleran said...

I don't know if I agree. I find it more difficult to write when my mind is filled with other authors' words. It's as if my need for language has to be parched and starved before my own words can well up to sate the thirst.