I’m a conventional reader, not usually given to experimental fiction nor styles that make me work too hard. If a prose passage is too dense to penetrate or transitions too confusing my factory-installed monkey mind will wander off on its own for a while. I might try it again, but if it keeps happening, I put it in a special stack of books destined for eternal procrastination. From time to time I glance at that stack and say, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
There are passages that light up my brain in Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgway. And I found moments of intense engagement, but I could not stay for the duration. To try to read it is like trying to recall a night of dark dreams, their jagged edges butting against each other. I wake up confused, yet moved. I’d tell you what the book is about, but I can’t. Ian Rankin is quoted by the publishers on the back cover:
“Brilliantly weird. The novel that has impressed, mesmerized and bamboozled me most this past year is Hawthorn & Child.”
The Times Literary Supplement compares Ridgway to Beckett
The story escaped me, but I love the cover.