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With bleak and evocative imagery, ‘Line’ by Niall Bourke, is a short yet intriguing read that I think would be perfect for fans of ‘1984’ and books that fall into the literary/dystopian fiction genre. The eponymous Line is everything to Willard and his girlfriend Nyla, with generations and generations of families being born, living and dying waiting to reach some unknown and possible better destination. There are strict rules that must be obeyed with brutal almost ritualistic punishments for anyone who breaks the rules or that attempts to skip the line. In the beginning I found it easy to draw parallels and see a commentary on immigration, that with this more dystopian setting reminded me of ‘The Wall’ by John Lanchester. As the story progressed I saw similarities between Willard and Nyla’s path and Julia and Winston’s storyline in ‘1984’. As the plot develops ‘Line’ also includes a commentary on corporations and their power. I liked the way that ‘Line’ develops. Avoiding spoilers as much as possible, I started to read thinking that the book was one thing, and as more details were revealed I understood that the scope of the book was much larger than I would have predicted. I found the writing succinct, with enough detail to expose the harsh realities of the line and the journeys beyond while encouraging you to get to know the characters. I liked the excerpts throughout the book that helped to explain the wider world and add exposition and context, this reminded me of the book in ‘1984’ and I feel it benefitted the overall story, allowing ‘Line’ to be the short and powerful read it is and removing the need for Willard and Nyla (and by default the reader) to spend time and pages searching for information. A brilliant read for fans of literary, speculative and dystopian fiction, one that I would highly recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Amabssador
An epic for an age without heroes, Did You Put The Weasels Out? is a celebration of the modern mythology that takes place in every small town. A modern update of the 8th century Gaelic saga The Tain, written in Alexander Pushkin's fiendish 'Onegin sonnet', Niall Bourke takes strict form to the extreme, and turns it into a hilarious, sharp-sighted satire of ordinary people's neuroses, indulgences and four AM fears. Abandon your preconceptions: Bourke's prose-poetry operatic-versenovel breaks all the rules - while managing to keep to them at the same time. Both traditional and undeniably of our time, Did You Put The Weasels Out? is poetry that celebrates the playfulness and uncertainty of being alive.