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, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, an exquisite history of hidden Deptford and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.
Accessible, poetic, literary fiction is the best way that I can describe Attend.
Camel’s liquid prose wash over you as you read this and I can honestly say (and I don’t say this about a lot of books) that it was an absolute pleasure to read.
Essentially it is a story of tragedy and growth, but one we can all relate to in our day-to-day lives. There are three main characters, Deborah, who is hiding herself away just out of sight of normal life. Her lack of social interaction is slightly unnerving but relatable and she aches for something. Then there is, Sam, trying to find his way in the world when a chance meeting with two other characters in the book changes his life forever. Thirdly, Anne, a recovering addict desperately trying to regain her families trust but they aren’t very willing. She’s hurt a lot of them before and it will take almost a miracle for them to welcome her back.
Looking at the front cover you know that at some point that these three very different threads will weave themselves together at some point, but the way it happens is impressive and completely non-cliche.
If you get the feeling that you’re going to be reading a crime novel, you couldn’t be more wrong. This novel delves into the reasons why actions take place and the effect that they have on the people around them.
The magical realism contained in the book is so tightly woven in, you are committed to believing it as a reader and it doesn’t jar, as it can do in other novels. This just was the cherry on the top for me.
Beautiful book and if you are at all yearning to read something about people and relationships with dreamy poetic prose – then read this!
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 be en produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was long-listed for the Old Vic’s 12.
Follow him on twitter @west_camel
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Thanks so much for reading!
Lots of Bookish Love xx