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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.
Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. But as the lonely days pass, the lessons the girl learns are not always the ones Monster means to teach . . .
Powerful and unflinching . . . This is a humane, tender and often painful exploration of the ways in which daughters consider themselves to be braver, smarter and more independent than their mothers, as well as the strength of love and hope in an empty world. Hale has crafted a gripping and intense dystopian fairytale . . . Beautifully written . . . A must-read - The Skinny
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 A gripping study of loneliness and what it can do to your psyche . . . Hale's style means we'll be interested in what she writes next -
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
Taut, tough and sensitive, the narrative conjures up a devastated world, inhabited by two intriguing characters, with precision and real atmosphere - Daily Mail
A complex, accomplished debut. The prose dazzles while the themes of feminism, power and fertility sneak in for a gut-punch. It kept me gripped from the first page, and the characters continue to live and breathe in my imagination -- KIRSTY LOGAN, author of THE GRACEKEEPERS
A terrific piece of writing; tough and tender and insightful. Loved it -- JOANNE HARRIS
Fresh and powerful . . . Hale's writing is assured and . . . strikingly beautiful . . . Most of all, the book has a great generosity and empathy for monsterdom, and refreshingly allows its characters to find happiness without becoming more ordinary . . . Hale is certainly a skilful writer with a compelling voice, and her ideas are bold and promising - Guardian
Publication date: 07/01/2021
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 06/06/2019
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
|Publication date:||7th January 2021|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Book Club Recommendations, Debuts of the Month, Debuts, Dystopian Fiction, Family Drama, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Spine-Chilling Fiction,|
|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