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Oh… my… word, this is one fabulous debut! I found a deceptively simple, and stark dystopian foray into a world blighted by bombs and sickness. Monster is completely alone until one day she finds a child. She becomes mother and passes on her knowledge, but are her mothering skills being received in the way she is expecting them to be? Told in the first person, Katie Hale has created short chapters where thoughts scatter, bounce, zigzag. I filed away feelings and emotions as I read, each within touching distance, lying in wait to prod and provoke. This feels honest, as though looking at a future just within grasp, or back to a history that has already happened. The feelings are raw, sometimes painful, yet relatable and believable. I found the premise of this novel absolutely fascinating, I explored interpretation of meaning, motherhood, and thoughts on the basic cycle of life. ‘My Name is Monster’ is poignant, moving and wonderfully different, it is also incredibly intimate, readable and surprisingly beautiful, I adored it.
After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world. Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. Changing her own name to Mother, Monster names the child after herself. As young Monster learns from Mother, she also discovers her own desires, realising that she wants very different things to the woman who made, but did not create, her. Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name Is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother's love.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
On entering a post-apocalyptic world, which readers often do, I was quickly drawn into this quiet and beautifully written story. 'My Name is Monster' by Katie Hale is a very different take on the genre. Full review
A poignant, literary post-apocalyptic story that I would recommend. Full review
Beautifully bleak, beautifully written post-apocalyptic story of a young woman left alone as the only survivor of a mysterious Sickness that wipes out humanity. A great read. Full review
A must read which is touching and heart-warming book which will keep you gripped from the beginning. When Monster finds a ferral girl & takes her under her wing, Monsters life is turned around. Full review
A terrific piece of writing; tough and tender and insightful. Loved it -- JOANNE HARRIS, author of CHOCOLAT Katie Hale has written two fascinating, flawed and compelling characters and, with only two people and an empty world, has created a novel that is gripping, insightful and unique -- CLAIRE FULLER, author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS A riveting and disturbing novel, part twisted fairy tale and part dystopian nightmare, in which the primal human need to find meaning and love shines through the darkness of a ruined world -- MICK KITSON, author of SAL
Publication date: 07/01/2021
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 06/06/2019
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
|Publication date:||6th June 2019|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, Debuts, Dystopian Fiction, Family Drama, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Spine-Chilling Fiction,|
|Collections:||60+ works of feminist-minded fiction - Women’s Words, 90+ books that dare you to take a walk on the dark side.,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Feminism & feminist theory,|
Katie Hale is a poet & novelist, based in Cumbria. Her debut novel, My Name is Monster, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award, and has been translated into multiple languages, and she is the author of two poetry pamphlets: Breaking the Surface and Assembly Instructions, which won the Munster Chapbook Prize. She is a former MacDowell Fellow and has completed a number of international residencies. She has also featured on national television and radio, including programmes such as Radio 4’s Open Book and Front Row, and has created commissioned work for the National Trust, the Barbican Centre, ...More About Katie Hale