I am delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for this exquisite debut novel from West Camel and published by Orenda Books. Thanks to Anne over at RandomThingsTours, the publisher and the author for the ARC for review. Today I’m opening up the tour alongside superblogger Kate over at PortableMagic
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
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, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.
Attend is a novel that surely defies any attempts to place it within a specific genre, It is an exquisitely written novel exploring the lives of three very different people, Anne, Sam, and Deborah whose lives are all bound together by invisible threads that are sewn expertly together to provide a breathtakingly intense story.
Anne is a recovering addict struggling to find her place within her family; Sam is a young gay man who has fallen in love with the local thug, Derek. Deborah is the thread that binds the two together and helps them make sense of their lives through her stories and her memories. Deborah played the leading role within the book as she brought past and present together and in doing so brought clarity to the lives of Sam and Anne.
There was something almost ethereal about this novel, almost as though it was a ghostly fairytale. At times I felt as though I was standing over a miniature stage watching the actors play out the story in front of my eyes. This was very different from my usual crime fiction read. It was dark yet enchanting at the same time. I felt as though the narrative had cast a magical spell upon me drawing me deeper into the pages and into the lives of all three characters. There was a deep intensity about the book, a storyline that I can’t really explain very well but characters so expertly written that they come alive on the pages, become real living and breathing human beings and it is almost impossible not to become entangled in their lives. It is an intense exploration of sexuality, mortality and indeed at times morality as each of the characters storylines are drawn out and then pulled together for the resolution. The cover is a perfect depiction of the very essence of the novel. Attend is an intense, dark, beautiful mesmerizing and almost haunting read, perfect to lose yourself in over the winter months.
Attend is available to purchase from:
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 Rivetermagazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.